Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2018-11-08 19:55Z by Steven

Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America

University of Pennsylvania Press
2018
232 pages
17 illus.
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 9780812250060

Sharon Block, Professor of History
University of California, Irvine

In Colonial Complexions, historian Sharon Block examines how Anglo-Americans built racial ideologies out of descriptions of physical appearance. By analyzing more than 4,000 advertisements for fugitive servants and slaves in colonial newspapers alongside scores of transatlantic sources, she reveals how colonists transformed observable characteristics into racist reality. Building on her expertise in digital humanities, Block repurposes these well-known historical sources to newly highlight how daily language called race and identity into being before the rise of scientific racism.

In the eighteenth century, a multitude of characteristics beyond skin color factored into racial assumptions, and complexion did not have a stable or singular meaning. Colonists justified a race-based slave labor system not by opposing black and white but by accumulating differences in the bodies they described: racism was made real by marking variation from a norm on some bodies, and variation as the norm on others. Such subtle systemizations of racism naturalized enslavement into bodily description, erased Native American heritage, and privileged life history as a crucial marker of free status only for people of European-based identities.

Colonial Complexions suggests alternative possibilities to modern formulations of racial identities and offers a precise historical analysis of the beliefs behind evolving notions of race-based differences in North American history.

Tags: , ,

Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-08-16 01:01Z by Steven

Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

University of Pennsylvania Press
August 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
6 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4840-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-9306-7

Jennifer L. Palmer, Assistant Professor of History
University of Georgia

Following the stories of families who built their lives and fortunes across the Atlantic Ocean, Intimate Bonds explores how households anchored the French empire and shaped the meanings of race, slavery, and gender in the early modern period. As race-based slavery became entrenched in French laws, all household members in the French Atlantic world —regardless of their status, gender, or race—negotiated increasingly stratified legal understandings of race and gender.

Through her focus on household relationships, Jennifer L. Palmer reveals how intimacy not only led to the seemingly immutable hierarchies of the plantation system but also caused these hierarchies to collapse even before the age of Atlantic revolutions. Placing families at the center of the French Atlantic world, Palmer uses the concept of intimacy to illustrate how race, gender, and the law intersected to form a new worldview. Through analysis of personal, mercantile, and legal relationships, Intimate Bonds demonstrates that even in an era of intensifying racial stratification, slave owners and slaves, whites and people of color, men and women all adapted creatively to growing barriers, thus challenging the emerging paradigm of the nuclear family. This engagingly written history reveals that personal choices and family strategies shaped larger cultural and legal shifts in the meanings of race, slavery, family, patriarchy, and colonialism itself.

Tags: , , ,

Difference of a Different Kind: Jewish Constructions of Race During the Long Eighteenth Century

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Judaism, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2015-09-21 01:01Z by Steven

Difference of a Different Kind: Jewish Constructions of Race During the Long Eighteenth Century

University of Pennsylvania Press
2014
280 pages
6 x 9
12 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4609-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-0970-9

Iris Idelson-Shein, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow
Martin Buber Professur für Jüdische Religionsphilosophie
Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

European Jews, argues Iris Idelson-Shein, occupied a particular place in the development of modern racial discourse during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Simultaneously inhabitants and outsiders in Europe, considered both foreign and familiar, Jews adopted a complex perspective on otherness and race. Often themselves the objects of anthropological scrutiny, they internalized, adapted, and revised the emerging discourse of racial difference to meet their own ends.

Difference of a Different Kind explores Jewish perceptions and representations of otherness during the formative period in the history of racial thought. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including philosophical and scientific works, halakhic literature, and folktales, Idelson-Shein unfolds the myriad ways in which eighteenth-century Jews imagined the “exotic Other” and how the evolving discourse of racial difference played into the construction of their own identities. Difference of a Different Kind offers an invaluable view into the ways new religious, cultural, and racial identities were imagined and formed at the outset of modernity.

Table of Contents

  • Note on Translations and Transliterations
  • Introduction
  • 1. An East Indian Encounter: Rape and Infanticide in the Memoirs of Glikl Bas Leib
  • 2. “And Let him Speak”: Noble and Ignoble Savages in Yehudah Horowitz’s Amudey beyt Yehudah
  • 3. Whitewashing Jewish Darkness: Baruch Lindau and the “Species” of Man
  • 4. Fantasies of Acculturation: Campe’s Savages in the Service of the Haskalah
  • Epilogue. A Terrible Tale: Some Final Thoughts on Jews and Race
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: , , , , ,

Daughters of the Trade: Atlantic Slavers and Interracial Marriage on the Gold Coast

Posted in Africa, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, Women on 2015-01-12 15:47Z by Steven

Daughters of the Trade: Atlantic Slavers and Interracial Marriage on the Gold Coast

University of Pennsylvania Press
January 2015
288 pages
6 x 9 | 17 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4673-5
Ebook ISBN: ISBN 978-0-8122-9058-5

Pernille Ipsen, Assistant Professor
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Department of History
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Examining five generations of marriages between African women and European men in a Gold Coast slave trading port, Daughters of the Trade uncovers the vital role interracial relationships played in the production of racial discourse and the increasing stratification of the early modern Atlantic world.

Severine Brock’s first language was Ga, yet it was not surprising when, in 1842, she married Edward Carstensen. He was the last governor of Christiansborg, the fort that, in the eighteenth century, had been the center of Danish slave trading in West Africa. She was the descendant of Ga-speaking women who had married Danish merchants and traders. Their marriage would have been familiar to Gold Coast traders going back nearly 150 years. In Daughters of the Trade, Pernille Ipsen follows five generations of marriages between African women and Danish men, revealing how interracial marriage created a Euro-African hybrid culture specifically adapted to the Atlantic slave trade.

Although interracial marriage was prohibited in European colonies throughout the Atlantic world, in Gold Coast slave-trading towns it became a recognized and respected custom. Cassare, or “keeping house,” gave European men the support of African women and their kin, which was essential for their survival and success, while African families made alliances with European traders and secured the legitimacy of their offspring by making the unions official.

For many years, Euro-African families lived in close proximity to the violence of the slave trade. Sheltered by their Danish names and connections, they grew wealthy and influential. But their powerful position on the Gold Coast did not extend to the broader Atlantic world, where the link between blackness and slavery grew stronger, and where Euro-African descent did not guarantee privilege. By the time Severine Brock married Edward Carstensen, their world had changed. Daughters of the Trade uncovers the vital role interracial marriage played in the coastal slave trade, the production of racial difference, and the increasing stratification of the early modern Atlantic world.

Table of Contents

  • Maps
  • Introduction. Severine’s Ancestors
  • Chapter 1. Setting Up
  • Chapter 2. A Hybrid Position
  • Chapter 3. “What in Guinea You Promised Me”
  • Chapter 4. “Danish Christian Mulatresses”
  • Chapter 5. Familiar Circles
  • Epilogue. Edward Carstensen’s Parenthesis
  • Notes
  • Note on Sources
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: , , , ,

Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Louisiana, Slavery, United States on 2013-06-24 20:28Z by Steven

Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World

University of Pennsylvania Press
November 2013
304 pages
6 x 9; 3 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4551-6
E-book ISBN: 978-0-8122-0873-3

Edited by:

Cécile Vidal, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for North American Studies
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Located at the junction of North America and the Caribbean, the vast territory of colonial Louisiana provides a paradigmatic case study for an Atlantic studies approach. One of the largest North American colonies and one of the last to be founded, Louisiana was governed by a succession of sovereignties, with parts ruled at various times by France, Spain, Britain, and finally the United States. But just as these shifting imperial connections shaped the territory’s culture, Louisiana’s peculiar geography and history also yielded a distinctive colonization pattern that reflected a synthesis of continent and island societies.

Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World offers an exceptional collaboration among American, Canadian, and European historians who explore colonial and antebellum Louisiana’s relations with the rest of the Atlantic world. Studying the legacy of each period of Louisiana history over the longue durée, the essays create a larger picture of the ways early settlements influenced Louisiana society and how the changes of sovereignty and other circulations gave rise to a multiethnic society. Contributors examine the workings of empires through the examples of slave laws, administrative careers or on-the-ground political negotiations, cultural exchanges among masters, non-slave holders, and slaves, and the construction of race through sexuality, marriage and household formation. As a whole, the volume makes the compelling argument that one cannot write Louisiana history without adopting an Atlantic perspective, or Atlantic history without referring to Louisiana.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction. Louisiana in Atlantic Perspective—Cécile Vidal
  • PART I. EMPIRES
    • Chapter 1. “To Establish One Law and Definite Rules”: Race, Religion, and the Transatlantic Origins of the Louisiana Code Noir—Guillaume Aubert
    • Chapter 2. Making a Career out of the Atlantic: Louisiana’s Plume—Alexandre Dubé
    • Chapter 3. Spanish Louisiana in Atlantic Contexts: Nexus of Imperial Transactions and International Relations—Sylvia L. Hilton
  • PART II. CIRCULATIONS
    • Chapter 4. Slaves and Poor Whites’ Informal Economies in an Atlantic Context—Sophie White
    • Chapter 5. “Un Nègre nommè [sic] Lubin ne connaissant pas Sa Nation”: The Small World of Louisiana Slavery—Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec
  • PART III. INTIMACIES
    • Chapter 6. Caribbean Louisiana: Church, Métissage, and the Language of Race in the Mississippi Colony during the French Period—Cécile Vidal
    • Chapter 7. Private Lives and Public Orders: Regulating Sex, Marriage, and Legitimacy in Spanish Colonial Louisiana—Mary Williams
    • Chapter 8. Atlantic Alliances: Marriage among People of African Descent in New Orleans—Emily Clark
  • Conclusion. Beyond Borders: Revising Atlantic History—Sylvia R. Frey
  • Notes
  • List of Contributors
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blackface Cuba, 1840-1895

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-10-25 16:52Z by Steven

Blackface Cuba, 1840-1895

University of Pennsylvania Press
2005
288 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-3867-9

Jill Lane, Associate Professor of  Theater and Performance Studies
New York University

Blackface Cuba, 1840-1895 offers a critical history of the relation between racial impersonation, national sentiment, and the emergence of an anticolonial public sphere in nineteenth-century Cuba. Through a study of Cuba’s vernacular theatre, the teatro bufo, and of related forms of music, dance, and literature, Lane argues that blackface performance was a primary site for the development of mestizaje, Cuba’s racialized national ideology, in which African and Cuban become simultaneously mutually exclusive and mutually formative.

Popular with white Cuban-born audiences during the period of Cuba’s anticolonial wars, the teatro bufo was celebrated for combining Spanish elements with supposedly African rhythms and choreography. Its wealth of short comic plays developed a well-loved repertory of blackface stock characters, from the negrito to the mulata, played by white actors in blackface. Lane contends that these practices were embraced by white audiences as especially national forms that helped define Cuba’s opposition to Spain, at the same time that they secured prevailing racial hierarchies for a future Cuban nation. Comparing the teatro bufo to related forms of racial representation, particularly those created by black Cubans in theatres and in the press, Lane analyzes performance as a form of social contestation through which an emergent Cuban national community struggled over conflicting visions of race and nation.

Table of Contents

  • Preface. On the Translation of Race
  • Introduction. ImpersoNation in Our America
  • Chapter 1. Blackface Costumbrismo, 1840-1860
  • Chapter 2. Anticolonial Blackface, 1868
  • Chapter 3. Black(face) Public Spheres, 1880-1895
  • Chapter 4. National Rhythm, Racial Adulteration, and the Danzón, 1881-82
  • Chapter 5. Racial Ethnography and Literate Sex, 1888
  • Conclusion. Cubans on the Moon, and Other Imagined Communities
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: , ,

The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture

Posted in Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2012-09-02 18:24Z by Steven

The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture

University of Pennsylvania Press
2000
384 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-3541-8
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8122-1722-3
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-0014-0

Roxann Wheeler, Associate Professor of English
Ohio State University

In the 1723 Journal of a Voyage up the Gambia, an English narrator describes the native translators vital to the expedition’s success as being “Black as Coal.” Such a description of dark skin color was not unusual for eighteenth-century Britons—but neither was the statement that followed: “here, thro’ Custom, (being Christians) they account themselves White Men.” The Complexion of Race asks how such categories would have been possible, when and how such statements came to seem illogical, and how our understanding of the eighteenth century has been distorted by the imposition of nineteenth and twentieth century notions of race on an earlier period.

Wheeler traces the emergence of skin color as a predominant marker of identity in British thought and juxtaposes the Enlightenment’s scientific speculation on the biology of race with accounts in travel literature, fiction, and other documents that remain grounded in different models of human variety. As a consequence of a burgeoning empire in the second half of the eighteenth century, English writers were increasingly preoccupied with differentiating the British nation from its imperial outposts by naming traits that set off the rulers from the ruled; although race was one of these traits, it was by no means the distinguishing one. In the fiction of the time, non-European characters could still be “redeemed” by baptism or conversion and the British nation could embrace its mixed-race progeny. In Wheeler’s eighteenth century we see the coexistence of two systems of racialization and to detect a moment when an older order, based on the division between Christian and heathen, gives way to a new one based on the assertion of difference between black and white.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction. The Empire of Climate: Categories of Race in Eighteenth-Century Britain
  • 1. Christians, Savages, and Slaves: From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic
  • 2. Racializing Civility: Violence and Trade in Africa
  • 3. Romanticizing Racial Difference: Benevolent Subordination and the Midcentury Novel
  • 4. Consuming Englishness: On the Margins of Civil Society
  • 5. The Politicization of Race: The Specter of the Colonies in Britain
  • Epilogue. Theorizing Race and Racism in the Eighteenth Century
  • Notes
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: ,

Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-07-24 05:16Z by Steven

Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana

University of Pennsylvania Press
November 2012
384 pages
6 x 9 | 33 color, 17 b/w
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4437-3

Sophie White, Associate Professor of American Studies; Associate Professor of Africana Studies; Associate Professor of History
University of Notre Dame

Based on a sweeping range of archival, visual, and material evidence, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians examines perceptions of Indians in French colonial Louisiana and demonstrates that material culture—especially dress—was central to the elaboration of discourses about race.

At the heart of France’s seventeenth-century plans for colonizing New France was a formal policy—Frenchification. Intended to turn Indians into Catholic subjects of the king, it also carried with it the belief that Indians could become French through religion, language, and culture. This fluid and mutable conception of identity carried a risk: while Indians had the potential to become French, the French could themselves be transformed into Indians. French officials had effectively admitted defeat of their policy by the time Louisiana became a province of New France in 1682. But it was here, in Upper Louisiana, that proponents of French-Indian intermarriage finally claimed some success with Frenchification. For supporters, proof of the policy’s success lay in the appearance and material possessions of Indian wives and daughters of Frenchmen.

Through a sophisticated interdisciplinary approach to the material sources, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians offers a distinctive and original reading of the contours and chronology of racialization in early America. While focused on Louisiana, the methodological model offered in this innovative book shows that dress can take center stage in the investigation of colonial societies—for the process of colonization was built on encounters mediated by appearance.

Tags: ,

Race and the Cherokee Nation: Sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science, United States on 2010-02-09 17:54Z by Steven

Race and the Cherokee Nation: Sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century

University of Pennsylvania Press
2007
200 pages
6 x 9, 7 illus.
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8122-4056-6

Fay A. Yarbrough, Associate Professor of History
University of Oklahoma

“We believe by blood only,” said a Cherokee resident of Oklahoma, speaking to reporters in 2007 after voting in favor of the Cherokee Nation constitutional amendment limiting its membership. In an election that made headlines around the world, a majority of Cherokee voters chose to eject from their tribe the descendants of the African American freedmen Cherokee Indians had once enslaved. Because of the unique sovereign status of Indian nations in the United States, legal membership in an Indian nation can have real economic benefits. In addition to money, the issues brought forth in this election have racial and cultural roots going back before the Civil War.

Race and the Cherokee Nation examines how leaders of the Cherokee Nation fostered a racial ideology through the regulation of interracial marriage. By defining and policing interracial sex, nineteenth-century Cherokee lawmakers preserved political sovereignty, delineated Cherokee identity, and established a social hierarchy. Moreover, Cherokee conceptions of race and what constituted interracial sex differed from those of blacks and whites. Moving beyond the usual black/white dichotomy, historian Fay A. Yarbrough places American Indian voices firmly at the center of the story, as well as contrasting African American conceptions and perspectives on interracial sex with those of Cherokee Indians.

For American Indians, nineteenth-century relationships produced offspring that pushed racial and citizenship boundaries. Those boundaries continue to have an impact on the way individuals identify themselves and what legal rights they can claim today.

Tags: , , ,

“Miscegenation” Making Race in America

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-02 16:59Z by Steven

“Miscegenation” Making Race in America

University of Pennsylvania Press
2002
216 pages
6 x 9, 19 illus.
Cloth: ISBN 978-0-8122-3664-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8122-2064-3

Elise Lemire, Professor of Literature
Purchase College, State University of New York

In the years between the Revolution and the Civil War, as the question of black political rights was debated more and more vociferously, descriptions and pictorial representations of whites coupling with blacks proliferated in the North. Novelists, short-story writers, poets, journalists, and political cartoonists imagined that political equality would be followed by widespread inter-racial sex and marriage. Legally possible yet socially unthinkable, this “amalgamation” of the races would manifest itself in the perverse union of “whites” with “blacks,” the latter figured as ugly, animal-like, and foul-smelling. In Miscegenation, Elise Lemire reads these literary and visual depictions for what they can tell us about the connection between the racialization of desire and the social construction of race.

Previous studies of the prohibition of interracial sex and marriage in the U.S. have focused on either the slave South or the post-Reconstruction period. Looking instead to the North, and to such texts as the Federalist poetry about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, James Fenimore Cooper‘s Last of the Mohicans, Edgar Allan Poe‘s “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and the 1863 pamphlet in which the word “miscegenation” was first used, Lemire examines the steps by which whiteness became a sexual category and same-race desire came to seem a biological imperative.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction: The Rhetorical Wedge Between Preference and Prejudice
  • 1. Race and the Idea of “Preference” in the New Republic: The Port Folio Poems About Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings
  • 2. The Rhetoric of Blood and Mixture: Cooper’s “Man Without a Cross”
  • 3. The Barrier of Good Taste: Avoiding A Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation in the Wake of Abolitionism
  • 4. Combating Abolitionism with the Species Argument: Race and Economic Anxieties in Poe’s Philadelphia
  • 5. Making “Miscegenation”: Alcott‘s Paul Frere and the Limits of Brotherhood After Emancipation
  • Epilogue: “Miscegenation” Today
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,