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Did you ever wonder what African women were like before being transported into slavery and being culturally transformed? A virtually unexplored topic in American cultural studies is the transformation of African women into African Americans. A hearing from the women themselves would be an individual primary source for such discovery. "[However,] only a half dozen or so African women have bequeathed writings from the American colonial era that scholars can peruse. To locate images and perspectives if African women in traditional Africa and in the colonies, I explore sources from Africa, Europe and colonial America--ranging from mythic orature to secondary critical works. Using the long historical view, the interdisciplinary lenses of women's studies and policy studies, and cross-cultural analysis, ... [Lillian Ashcraft-Eason seeks] to give 17th- and 18th-century African women voice and agency" when she reconstructs their pre-Diaspora cosmologies and images as marketwomen in the slave trade era.
Ashcraft-Eason, Lillian, "Ensnared Destinies?: African Marketwomanry in the Slave Trade Era" (1998). ICS Fellow Lectures. 30.