ENGENDERING THE ARCHIVE

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

wayward-liveds.jpg

Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (W. W. Norton & Company, 2019) 


In 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, queer 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 narrates the story of this radical social transformation against the grain of the prevailing century-old argument about the crisis of the black family.