Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kathryn Lachman

Second Advisor

Dawn Fulton

Third Advisor

Kaiama L. Glover

Fourth Advisor

Rachel Mordecai

Fifth Advisor

Corine Tachtiris

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Comparative Literature | Digital Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | French and Francophone Literature | Latin American Languages and Societies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Women's History


“Redressing History” explores how twentieth- and twenty-first century Black women authors tell the story of slavery in the Americas. This study asks: given the limited number of archival records authored by enslaved and free women of color, what other materials can we consider in order to access and share women’s stories and experiences of slavery worlds? “Redressing History” suggests that the significant, though understudied, role of clothes and textiles in the construction of Atlantic World identities and diasporic communities makes fashion a powerful narrative mode in history. Comparing representations of textiles, textile practices, and clothing in historical counternarratives from Haiti, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, and the United States, “Redressing History” foregrounds the intimacies of cloth and storytelling to understand the role of fiction in addressing/redressing the marginalization of Black women’s voices and actions within colonial archives. By examining textile arts and dress practices as powerful strategies of authorial possibility in novels by Toni Morrison, Marie Chauvet, Simone Schwarz-Bart, and Andrea Levy, “Redressing History” offers a transhistorical account of the variety of ways in which Black women claim—and have been claiming—agency over the fashioning of their own bodies and stories in both colonial history and the contemporary global literary market.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Wednesday, September 01, 2027