Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Book Talk: "They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South" by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, University of California, Berkeley

Wed, April 24, 2019 | GAR 4.100

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South (Yale University Press, February 2019) makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones‑Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave‑owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South’s slave market.
Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands, they employed management techniques that were as effective and brutal as those used by slave‑owning men. White women actively participated in the slave market, profited from it, and used it for economic and social empowerment. By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave-owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that prompts a rethinking of women’s history and the history of slavery.

“One of the most significant books on the history of women and slavery.”
—Edward E. Baptist, author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
"Stephanie Jones-Rogers has written a highly original book that will change the way we think about women enslavers in the United States. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of gender, slavery and capitalism."
—Daina Ramey Berry, author of The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the winner of the 2013 Lerner-Scott Prize for best doctoral dissertation in U.S. women’s history. During the 2018-2019 academic year, she will be a Harrington Post-Doctoral Fellow in the History Department at the University of Texas, Austin. Read more about Dr. Jones-Rogers' work at: , and follow her on Twitter at @sejr_historian.

Please RSVP to to reserve your seat and receive a copy of the reading selection to be discussed.

Sponsored by: Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History

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