Reconstructing Subversive Moral Discourses in the Spiritual Autobiographies of Nineteenth-Century African American Preaching Women
Using the spiritual autobiographies of selected nineteenth-century African American women, this inquiry reveals how these women constructed subversive discourses as moral actors and social reformers, even in the midst of religious, racial and gender oppression. Cuffee argues that their discursive self-assertion involved them in transformative acts that moved them from the status of marginalized survivors of white supremacy and chattel slavery to empowered, moral subjects at the intersection of religion, race, gender, and identity ideologies. This article examines how these women appropriated biblical rhetoric, abolitionist ideals, and the Protestant evangelical conversion and sanctification doctrine to realign themselves in opposition to and in disruption of dominant stereotypes and negative perceptions about their race and gender to liberate themselves from hegemonic structures, as well as to sustain them in their preaching missions and gender-justice protests.
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