The Thornbrough Lecture is an annual series organized by the Indiana Association of Historians (IAH). This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by the IAH and the Indiana Historical Society.
This year’s lecture, “For Whose Protection?: Black Women and Confinement in the late-19th Century” will be given by Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher.
Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher is an affiliate faculty member in the Africana Studies Program at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Curatorial Director at Conner Prairie. Most recently, Charlene served as the ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She holds a Ph.D. in History specializing in 19th century United States and African American history and gender studies.
Charlene is an Indianapolis native, and before returning to Indiana, she led a domestic violence/sexual assault program and a significant prison reentry initiative in New York City, assisting women and men transitioning from incarceration to society. Also, she served as a lecturer on Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.
Charlene’s research explores the experiences of confined African American women in Kentucky from Reconstruction to the Progressive Era, explicitly illuminating the lives of imprisoned Black women by examining places other than carceral locales as arenas of confinement, including mental health institutions and domestic spaces. She seeks to explore how these women defied and defined confinement through their incarceration, interactions with public, social, and political entities of the period, and how they challenged ideas of race and femininity.
Charlene’s first book, Confined Femininity: Race, Gender, and Incarceration in Kentucky, 1865-1920, is currently under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.