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Fugitive ScienceEmpiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture$
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Britt Rusert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479885688

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479885688.001.0001

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Sarah’s Cabinet

Sarah’s Cabinet

Fugitive Science in and beyond the Parlor

(p.181) 5 Sarah’s Cabinet
Fugitive Science

Britt Rusert

NYU Press

Chapter 5 moves from the scientific experiments of the black public sphere to the production of science by black women in semi-private spaces like the parlor, the garden, and the classroom. It focuses specifically on Sarah Mapps Douglass, who taught both literature and science at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, contributed natural history discourses and paintings to the friendship albums of her friends and students, and lectured on anatomy and physiology to audiences composed of black women. In addition to surveying African American science in antebellum Philadelphia, the chapter places Douglass in a more Atlantic context, connecting her work, and body in performance, to figures like Joice Heth, Sarah Baartman, and other women who were subjected to the violent experiments and spectacles of nineteenth-century race science.

Keywords:   Sarah Mapps Douglass, physiology, anatomy, Joice Heth, Baartman, Black women, Philadelphia, natural history, friendship albums, Atlantic

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