Margarita Rosa is a Ph. D candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature and a scholar of women and slavery in the Western Hemisphere. Her dissertation, titled “The Enslaved Womb: Enslaved Women, Roman Law, and Reproduction in Brazil,” traces the history of legislation concerning enslaved women’s biological reproduction, beginning with Roman legislation and ending with the 1871 Free-Womb Law in Brazil. Rosa’s work examines how nineteenth-century scholars in Brazil used or disposed of Roman legislation in arguments for or against hereditary slavery. Rosa traces the naturalization of the claim that “the child of an enslaved woman is also born a slave,” and provides theoretical tools for studying the inheritance of slavery through long durée accounts of the western archive.
Her interests include enslaved women and reproduction, slave rebellions, enslaved women in prisons, and black women writers in the western literary tradition. Margarita Rosa’s historical training is in Latin American History and African American History.