Abstract

Abstract:

In the spring of 1848, the French Second Republic abolished slavery and made citizens of most adult male residents in its overseas territories. Gorée Island (Senegal) became a French exclave, where free and freed women experienced socioeconomic and political decline. The patriarchal French state that “liberated” enslaved women and “enfranchised” former female slave owners simultaneously limited Goréen women’s avenues to economic prosperity and political authority. French republicanism unsettled a significant sociopolitical distinction, the slave–nonslave divide, making gender a more salient factor mediating Goréens’ access to liberty and the public sphere. Goréen women experienced their formal integration into the Second French Republic—with the regime’s patriarchal republican laws and institutions—as colonialism. Goréens became members of a French Republic that championed universal equality, gendered difference, and patriarchy. French republican tenets excluded Goréen women from civic politics and the public sphere and created female colonial subjects on an island of citizens.

pdf

Share