History Center at USC presents Faculty Spotlight Lecture: Dr. Nicole Maskiell
February 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Please join the History Center for our Faculty Spotlight lecture featuring Dr. Nicole Maskiell.
Free and Open to the Public
About the Lecture:
In 1748 a little boy arrived in Somerset County New Jersey wrapped in a blanket by the elite New York slaveholder of Dutch heritage James van Horne, with the instructions that he be nursed by his housekeeper a local white woman named Margaret Wiser. When the baby was uncovered, Wiser and her husband discovered that the child was mixed race, but Wiser agreed to nurse him anyway because his mother “was a white woman” and that her parents “were people of almost the first Rank in New-York.” Thirty-five years later, Philip returned to his origin story; both his mother’s class and race, as well as the race of his wet nurse, were crucial pieces of evidence in his freedom suit.
This talk explores the ways that gender and race were constructed together–in law and in custom–across slaveholding communities and how such evolving notions were connected to cultural debates about the physical potency and symbolic importance of breastmilk.