My colleague Tisha Brooks's first book, Spirit Deep: Recovering the Sacred in Black Women's Travel was just published by the University of Virginia Press.
"Spirit Deep started with my love of spiritual autobiography but was deeply informed by my fascination with Black women's travel," said Brooks in an interview with her publisher discussing the origins and development of the project. She went on to say that
When I started exploring nineteenth-century Black women spiritual autobiographers, I was amazed at their mobility and the extent of their travels, especially during a time when the majority of African American women were enslaved or living in contexts that made such travel unlikely or even impossible.
The book focuses on three 19th century Black women who blend spiritual and travel narrative genres: Zilpha Elaw, Amanda Smith, and Nancy Prince. Brooks also includes chapters on Julie Dash's film Daughters of the Dust (1991) and a chapter on Saidiya Hartman's Lose Your Mother (2006).
Thus, Spirit Deep covers various time periods, and Brooks examines works in multiple genres.
Some years back, Brooks began regularly teaching, among other classes, a series of courses "Spiritual Perspectives in African American Literature" and "Black Mobility and Freedom." In retrospect, those classes were providing a basis for aspects of her book.
I'm looking forward to reading her thoughts on black women's travel, "the sacred," and various other topics in the book.
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