Brunias? Buttons ft. Caribbean Free and Slave Life @ Cooper-Hewitt

Collected in a 2013 post by Sarah D. Coffin, these buttons were posted on the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt blog some time ago. But material cultures of slavery never get old.

Some of her conclusions have been challenged in the comments (the author appears to confuse 18th century Dominica with Saint-Domingue), but the images appear to be renderings in the style of Bruinas or Brunias originals of figures de varias colores (black, gradations of mixed-race, and white) in 18th century dress.

The figure in the blue dress on this button, for example…

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Stephanie Camp1

My OAH Tribute: Stephanie M. H. Camp & Deborah Gray White

Stephanie Camp1

Stephanie M. H. Camp


Below is the full-text of the talk I gave at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting last week. The panel was titled “Expanding the Boundaries: Power and Voice in African American Women’s and Gender History.” A separate reflection on the panel itself is incoming.

My original remarks explored power and voice in histories of slavery and Afro-Atlantic women.

It quickly became a tribute to Deborah Gray White and the recently passed Stephanie M. H. Camp.

I edited the text below for the blog-as-media and easier reading. I used formatting to replicate speech patterns, added images and links where appropriate, and included sections I skipped last Friday for the sake of time. Overall, however, I stayed true to the text as shared that day.

You are welcome to reblog, cite, circulate at will. All I ask is you respect the terms of the Creative Commons license. If you reblog/reprint, reblog/reprint in its entirety and cite/link back to this blog as the original source (for more click here). And if you have questions or concerns about anything I wrote, email at will.

Thank you everyone for your warm remarks and feedback last weekend. Thank you blog visitor for reading. 

And, of course, thank you Stephanie Camp for being an example to a young black woman trying to find her way in the academy, for your fearless scholarship and your brilliance. These words are dedicated to you. Rest in peace.


[Mic check]

I’d like to start with heartfelt thank yous to the OAH Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession for sponsoring this panel, especially Susan Lee Johnson and Dayo Gore for organizing it. Thank you also to my co-panelists Kathryn Silva Banks, Brenna Greer, Sarah Haley, Kwame Holmes, and Barbara Krauthamer. It is an honor to appear among you.

I rewrote my remarks in light of Stephanie M. H. Camp’s untimely death. As a result, the talk I give today is rather new, a work-in-progress. I welcome discussion, feedback, and critique.

When asked to consider power and voice in African American women’s and gender history, I turned to two books that have inspired me, pushed me, and fostered my growth as a historian, scholar, writer, and thinker.

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FRIDAY: Me (@jmjafrx) Discussing Voice and Power at #OAH2014



Anyone in Atlanta this weekend? :)

I’ll be in town for a few days attending the Organization of American Historians Annual Conference. Delighted to be discussing power and voice in African American Women’s and Gender History with several very smart scholars (who I happen to have admired for some time): Brenna Greer, Sarah Haley, Kwame Holmes, Barbara Krauthamer, and Kathryn Silva Banks.

The panel is sponsored by the OAH Committe on the Status of Women in the Historical Profession. Many thanks to Dayo Gore and Susan Lee Johnson for organizing it and inviting me to join the conversation.

If you’re free Friday afternoon (1:50 – 3:20 p), drop by!




Alter Egos and Avatars at #caDH

Always fun when good people cite and share your creations with other good people! Thank you Fiona Barnett of HASTAC for the mentions during the Critical Approaches to Digital Humanities at Virginia Commonwealth University! And thank you for doing such critical and generous work on my #AvatarDiaspora. ;)

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