Abstract

Abstract:

This essay examines how the creolized formations of race, gender, and empire in Mary Seacole's 1857 memoir, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, challenges Victorian discourses on motherhood and racial purity. Seacole creates an interstitial "Creole" female subjectivity through her creolization of the racial, culinary, and medical aspects of Victorian motherhood. These nursing, cooking, and healing rituals performed by Seacole as a "doctress, nurse, and mother" during the Crimean War allow the memoir to articulate an alternative model of mixed-race motherhood subverting the prevailing nineteenth-century anxieties and stereotyping about the sexual promiscuity of Jamaican womanhood. By reading "Creole" subjectivity as a nonconformist and interracial form of cultural creolization, this essay showcases how the "Creole" subject's maternal and culinary practices can destabilize Victorian racial boundaries and power relationships between colonizer and colonized, home and battlefield, and Britishness and otherness, and further cultivate a space for re-conceiving a creolized empire.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 527-557
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-12
Open Access
No
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