Edith Bleich Lecture Series

The Edith Bleich Lecture Series was established by Dr. Stuart Blumin in memory of Edith Bleich.  Ms. Bleich was one the University of Miami’s earliest and most devoted students.  Each year, the Center invites a humanities scholar to speak to the UM and South Florida community about their research.  This event is free an open to the public.

This year's Bleich Lecture will also serve as the keynote address for the conference, Undercurrents: Connection and Rupture in the Caribbean, from Pre-Columbian Era to 1960.  Please see our Conferences and Symposia page for more information on this related event. 

Jennifer Morgan

 Professor of History and Chair of Department of Social and Cultural Analysis

New York University, New York

"Madwomen on the Slave Ship: Reproduction and Racial Capitalism"

Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 7:00pm

Lowe Art Museum

Free & Open to the Public‌  |  Registration Required


In this talk, Professor Morgan explores the connections between the slave trade, the concept of kinlessness, and the origins of Atlantic capitalism. Drawing on the ideological work of gender and reproduction in the early modern Atlantic, Morgan writes that notions of kinship and its absence were crucial in both justifying racial slavery and in the practices of accounting, demography, and valuation that subtended the rise of capitalism as discourse and practice. Building on the critical work of Cedric Robinson, Morgan argues that the roots of racial capitalism are entwined with the harnessing of African women’s reproductive capacities to the economies of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.


 Image of slave giving birth on schematic of slave ship.


"[Morgan] has made a major contribution . . . by looking specifically at the issue of gender as a lens through which better to understand the establishment of race-based slavery in Britain's colonies in the Caribbean and North America."—The Historian

Jennifer Morgan is Professor of History in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair.  She is the author of Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and the co-editor of Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America (University of Illinois Press, 2016).  Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in in the Black Atlantic world.

Her most recent journal articles include “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery,” in Small Axe; “Accounting for ‘The Most Excruciating Torment’: Trans-Atlantic Passages” in History of the Present, and “Archives and Histories of Racial Capitalism” in Social Text.  In addition to her archival work as a historian, Morgan has published a range of essays on race, gender, and the process of “doing history,” most notably “Experiencing Black Feminism” in Deborah Gray White’s edited volume, Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (2007).

She is currently at work on a project that considers colonial numeracy, racism and the rise of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world forthcoming with Duke University Press, Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic



Please note: Per the University’s new parking policy, hourly parking rates will apply to all visitors from 8am to 11pm. Visitors will need to follow posted instructions to pay-by-phone or pay via the pay stations located throughout campus. For more information, please contact Parking and Transportation at 305-284-3096, option 2.


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