Race, slavery, and the expression of sexual violence in Louisa Picquet, the Octoroon

Andrea Livesey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Historically, victims of sexual violence have rarely left written accounts of their abuse, so while sexual violence has long been associated with slavery in the United States, historians have few accounts from formerly enslaved people who experienced it first-hand. Through a close reading of the narrative of Louisa Picquet, a survivor of sexual violence in Georgia and Louisiana, this article reflects on the recovery of evidence of sexual violence under slavery through amanuensis-recorded testimony, the unintended evidence of survival within the violent archive of female slavery, and the expression of “race” as an authorial device through which to demonstrate the multigenerational nature of sexual victimhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-288
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Nineteenth Century History
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Slavery
  • sexual violence
  • Violence
  • Race
  • Gender


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