Mode of engagement Hartman departs from a reliance on spectacular acts of resistance marches policy etc and instead exalts the uotidian lauding working class Black women and GNC people in the early twentieth century who experimented with ways of being everyday anarchy that surpassed the stringent parameters of labor structured by the afterlife of slavery vagrancy laws segregation etc Indeed at this time in Northern cities 910 Black women worked as domestic workers and 13 of Black people worked as servants Hartman writes stories detailing how people continued to evade control by taking non traditional paths refusing normative scripts trying to live when ou were never meant to survive Survival is recognized as an experimental practice of revolution its own type of insurrection Crime is reframed as a tactic of curtailing and disappearing Black life Black women and GNC people were criminalized for their creative forms of survival practices of community mutual aid pleasure making because in this living was a generative intimate beautiful existence outside of the grasp of the stateThe genius is not just in what she argues but in how she argues it She embodies stylistically the very freedom that she theorizes in the process catalyzing a new genre The elegance of her writing is breathtaking beauty is not a luxury rather it is a way of creating possibility in the space of enclosure a radical act of subsistence an embrace of our terribleness a transfiguration of the given A must read This is a glorious read about Black women whose inner lives and external manifestations of those rich journeys has not been documented with such grace context and beauty across fluid genders or sexualities It was a delight too to be 35 stars The wild idea that animates this book is that The Mallen Girl young black women were radical thinkers who tirelessly imagined other ways to live and never failed to consider how the world might be otherwisewhat a beautiful bookou can really tell that hartman has poured her heart and soul into telling these women s storiesRTC I learned about Saidiya Hartman when she won a MacArthur Fellowship genius grant this Swimming In The Flood year This book is fascinating focusing onoung black women moving to Northern cities in the early 20th century and trying to find some freedom in their intimate lives even as they were relentlessly policed arrested and confined on the mere suspicion that they might be or might become sex workers for instance and the color line of segregation closed them inHartman s methods make the book very readable She finds many of her subjects in photographs and in the archives of reformatories and social workers as they are defined by a censorious white gaze Hartman fills in the gaps of these lives with speculative narratives what might these women have dreamed of What space could they make for their hopes in the narrow confines of their lives This is history I knew almost nothing about beautifully written and engrossing thoughts coming shortly. Autifully written and deeply researched Wayward Lives recreates the experience of oung urban black women who desired an existence ualitatively different than the one that had been scripted for them domestic service second class citizenship and respectable poverty and whose intimate revolution was apprehended as crime and pathology For the first time oung black women are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape Through a melding of history and literary imagination Wayward Lives recovers their radical aspirations and insurgent desire.
characters Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments
Editors or additional readers as it should have and that made me a little sad because I would really love for people to read it A book that I feel like people should read because of the uniue historical context to archival records that it provides while also remaining extremely culturally relevant in terms of police violence racial and gender discrimination and how hard Black women work to make their own spaces and be heard Definitely points out important gaps in the archival record and the way we talk about American history what an extraordinary book Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman writes and reimagines the lives of black girls women and gender nonconforming Hartman reconstructs the history of these figures who lived in a period that never wanted them to have agency desires sexuality passions and freedom the practices of refusal to live wayward beyond the respectability ideals was palpable A few short passages from Wayward Lives Beautiful ExperimentsIn a novel he possessed the ability to transform a ruined girl who grew up in a brothel into a heroine but achieving the same in a sociological study proved nearly impossible Literature was better able to grapple with the role of chance in human action and to illuminate the possibility and the promise of the errant pathThe scene pivots around the breach and the wound and endeavors the impossible to redress it The beauty resides as much in the attempt as in its failure What it envisions life reconstructed along radically different linesThe people ambling through the block and passing time on corners and hanging out on front steps were an assembly of the wretched and the visionary the indolent and the dangerous All the modalities sing a part in this chorus and the refrains were of infinite variety The rhythm and stride announced the possibilities even if most were fleeting and too often unrealized The map of what might be was not restricted to the literal trail of Ester s footsteps or anyone else s and this unregulated movement encouraged the belief that something great could happen despite everything ou knew despite the ruin and the obstacles What might be was unforeseen and improvisation was the art of reckoning with chance and accident Wandering and drifting was how she engaged the world and how she understood it this repertoire of practices composed her knowledge Wayward Lives cements Dr Hartman as one of the preeminent intellectuals of our time It is one of the most compelling feminist studies I have read This book is an actualization of Hartman s critical fabulation a practice of historical speculation that coalesces the magic of literature with the methodology of history in order to respond to deliberate absences in the archive For Hartman so much falls through the cracks if we rely on history s emphasis on events and subjects Personhood rather than being a priori status is produced by regimes of power To grant subjecthood to the dispossessed reuires another. Es the story of this radical social transformation against the grain of the prevailing century old argument about the crisis of the black familyIn wrestling with the uestion of what a free life is many oung black women created forms of intimacy and kinship that were indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law They cleaved to and cast off lovers exchanged sex to subsist and revised the meaning of marriage Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading conditions of workBe.
Lyrical and mesmerizing Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments recounts the experiments in social arrangements Hosts (Repairman Jack, young black women conducted in New York and Philadelphia during the first decades of the twentieth century The book focuses on the waves of Blackouth who moved from the rural South to industrial northern cities in search of fulfilling lives and documents the many challenges they faced Drawing upon extensive archival research Hartman sketches a series of moving character studies of minor and famous figures alike and she thoughtfully examines how these women constructed new ways of loving working and building community in the face of extraordinary police harassment sexual violence and white paternalism Where there are gaps in the historical record the writer points them out and offers self conscious reflections on what might have happened It s so rare and beautiful to read a book that just oozes information and ideas that Siege of Heaven (Demetrios Askiates, you hadn t come across before and even though reading this was not always easy I was in for a spectacular treat Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments is a visionary journey into the defiant lives of black women during Jim Crow era Great migration which breaks molds and stereotypes by showing how they broke molds and stereotypes while threatened with incarceration poverty homelessness and disenfranchisement I can t even begin to describe all the ways in which this book is groundbreaking and important First it crushes the tired narratives of Jim Crow era black women as kindly matronly housekeepers and lets them reclaim their agency sexuality ueerness and independence Second it shows how the black women had laid out the foundations of the sexual revolution way before their white counterparts even came close to it Third it s just an amazing updated guide to the progressive figures of the era while such run of the millet problematic reformists as WEBDuBois and MW Ovington make appearances they are there for contrast and the limelight rightfully goes to a whole cast of brilliant women and genderueer people who did not spend time on ideology but instead changed the world through their subversive beautiful lives This book is a long overdue memorial to their sacrifices While I was absolutely enad with the book on the whole I did find that it was really densely written and lacked in clarity For instance the beginning was too much like fiction which seemed overwritten and excessively florid and distracted from the main objective I thought that things only started rolling smoothly about halfway through It s fine if ou have a patient interested reader like myself but I definitely saw it as a missed opportunity to make this range of information be available to a larger set of an audience Even though it s not as impenetrable as the usual academic books it was still a little too much of an odd unclassifiable animal Neither a nonfiction account nor a novelization it just seemed like it hadn t been worked on as carefully by the. A breathtaking exploration of the lives of oung black women in the early twentieth centuryIn Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments Saidiya Hartman examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century Free love common law and transient marriages serial partners cohabitation outside of wedlock ueer relations and single motherhood were among the sweeping changes that altered the character of everyday life and challenged traditional Victorian beliefs about courtship love and marriage Hartman narrat.
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Saidiya Hartman is the author of Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments Lose Your Mother A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route and Scenes of Subjection She a Guggenheim Fellow and has been a Cullman Fellow and Fulbright Scholar She is a professor at Columbia University and lives in New York