March 22, 2010
Sarah Baartman isn’t a household name, but her legacy as the so-called the Hottentot Venus has had ripple effects around the world for the two centuries. She became a symbol for all supposedly savage African women as part of European freak shows in the 1800s, where the size of her derrière was emphasized.
In “Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography” (Princeton University Press, 2008), her life off-stage is finally front and center. Emory history professor Clifton Crais and his wife Pamela Scully, professor of Women’s Studies and African Studies, have pieced together the untold story of the woman who became an icon.