The relationship between slavery and capitalism is a critical debate in early American republic scholarship. A bevy of historical works has contended that slavery cannot be understood apart from the rise of American capitalism. Most recognize that slavery was an economic system; however, scholars argue about the extent of slavery's hold over the United States economy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. "Critical Bodies: Slavery and Disability in Early Republic Virginia, 1800-1850" interrogates the intersections between disability, gender, communities, and law. My manuscript examines slave law as a vertex for white aspiration and Black resistance to slavery. Although resistance to slavery and the legal apparatus and practices of a slave society has received intense investigation, I add disability as a consideration that further reveals strategies to employ capitalist extraction of enslaved people's bodies. I further reveal the efforts of slaves and freed slaves to constitute community and provide support to their kin. Enslaved and free Black people did not submit to slave masters' objectives unilaterally to slave masters' employment of capitalist logic to increase economic profit in slave bodies. However, the law challenged enslaved people's ability to sustain community life with Black disabled people and continually forced slave owners to create new legal technologies. In their hands, legal technology worked to circumvent the resistance of enslaved people and their efforts to support and incorporate disabled people into their communities. Racial capitalism thus emerges as a locus for a robust account of the many facets of disabled slaves' life.
Kimberly has engaged in a variety of leadership and intellectual communities at Rice in 2022. Her activities include: Podcast production host, Rice University; Medicine, Race and Democracy Speakers Series; Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice Steering Committee; Mentor for R.I.S.E. (Responsibility, Inclusion, Student Empowerment) program in Rice Emerging Scholars Program; Facilitator for CAAAS Reading lab on Race in the Diaspora; Center for Teaching Education, Graduate Student Committee member.
In addition to her dissertation manuscript, Kimberly is also working on an article for an upcoming edited collection. "Their Whiteness is not Like Our: Hypopigmentation and Disability in Slavery (tentative title)," Cripping the Archive: Disability, Power, and History, Edited by Jennifer Barclay and Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy.