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ASWAD Presents: From the Pages - A Book Talk with Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh and Dianne Stewart
Monday, April 29, 2024, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM EDT
Category: Events

"From the Pages..." featuring Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh's The Souls of Womenfolk

Join us on April 29, 2024 as we discuss Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh's The Souls of Womenfolk: The Religious Cultures of Enslaved Women in the Lower South, moderated by Dianne M. Stewart.

Awarded the 2022 Outstanding First Book Prize, The Souls of Womenfolk traces a bold history of the interior lives of bondwomen as they carved out an existence for themselves and their families amid the horrors of American slavery. With particular attention to maternity, sex, and other gendered aspects of women’s lives, she documents how bondwomen crafted female-centered cultures that shaped the religious consciousness and practices of entire enslaved communities. Indeed, gender as well as race co-constituted the Black religious subject, she argues—requiring a shift away from understandings of “slave religion” as a gender-amorphous category.

Women responded on many levels—ethically, ritually, and communally—to southern slavery. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Wells-Oghoghomeh shows how they remembered, reconfigured, and innovated beliefs and practices circulating between Africa and the Americas. In this way, she redresses the exclusion of enslaved women from the American religious narrative. Challenging conventional institutional histories, this book opens a rare window onto the spiritual strivings of one of the most remarkable and elusive groups in the American experience.


Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies department at Stanford University. Her first book The Souls of Womenfolk: The Religious Cultures of Enslaved Women in the Lower South (UNC Press, 2021) won the 2023 Outstanding First Book Prize from the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) and was a finalist for the 2022 Frederick Douglass Book Prize. She is currently at work on a second monograph that traces the gendered, racialized history of phenomena termed “witchcraft” in the United States, as well as a two-volume documentary history of religion and slavery. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and Forum for Theological Education, among others. She received her B.A. in English from Spelman College, and Master of Divinity degree and Ph.D. from Emory University.

This event will be streamed live on April 29th at 4pm. 
Join us on Zoom April 29, 2024 at 4 pm: