Bettina Judd | Author of Patient

Bettina Judd

Art. Feminism. Femme Fire.

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The Portrait in the Persona: Rendering and Memory in the History of Experimentation and Display on Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy, and Joice

  • Wits University Johannesburg South Africa (map)


This conference presentation includes a complimentary eChap for those in attendance. It will be available for download on the day of the presentation.

The mid-nineteenth century was witness to an enlightenment influenced curiosity of Black bodies globally: Sarah Baartman in the 1810s, Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy in the 1840s and Joice Heth during this time as well. This reading of poems and commentary from my poetry collection PATIENT. attempts to render these women through persona poems by addressing the following questions: How might the inner lives of these women be recovered? Who has the authority to puppet the voices of these women in an attempt to render them whole? What does the effort to render Black women whole say about how we, in the present, inherit and are haunted by the legacies of enslavement, colonial conquest and experimentation on Black women’s bodies? This presentation includes a commentary on the process of rendering Black women in poetics and a reading of the poems themselves.

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