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This chapter explores how slave insurrections in the Caribbean and West Indies throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries impacted upon British and American Gothic writing. In particular, it argues that the Gothic mode became, and remains still, haunted by an ever-present racialised discourse, one which reveals the horror of modernity’s constructions and their inheritances. From the nineteenth century onwards, Gothic texts not only ask what it means to be a (wo)man among the human race, but anxiously investigate the lie of racial difference. Examining texts by Charlotte Dacre, Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, Herman Melville and Florence Marryat, the chapter explores how the Gothic depicts acts of black rebellion in unequivocal tones of horror, and the extent to which their black (enslaved) characters assume the place of the utterly monstrous while also betraying anxiety over the blurry line separating blacks from whites. Such fictions, the argument holds, debate the justice of violent black revolution and express the concern that, while slavery itself may be responsible for the violence of the enslaved, slavery may in fact debase white subjects too.
The eighteenth century saw a change in British readers’ sense of their place in the world. In the first half of the century, England – and later Britain – tended to imagine itself as the vulnerable but freedom-loving object of historical and contemporary global empires, engendering early Gothic images of tyrannical violence and ghostly resistance. However, the last decades of the century brought home news of war in America, the conquests of the East India Company and the vast horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. Britons were forced to begin to confront their own resemblance to the imperial tyrants against whom they had previously defined themselves. The Gothic became a means of articulating and managing the shock of this resemblance. In a wide range of genres, from stage pantomimes and Oriental novels to political speeches and abolitionist tracts, familiar discourses of Gothic oppression were combined with images and narratives of global cultural difference and colonial violence. Whether written overtly to promote or to oppose imperial expansion, these texts often diverted feelings of disquiet about the British empire onto its victims around the world.
The collision between Enlightenment and revolutionary Romantic values that produced the Gothic also produced the United States. American Gothic disrupts the dominant American narrative of progress, and reveals what is hidden or omitted by this narrative. It engages the inescapable facts of the emerging nation: the twinned original sins of African enslavement and native American removal, the shifting frontier, the rise of cities and of modern capitalism, poverty, disease and the changing roles of women. The repressed truth that American Gothic exposes is that Americans are not the people they believe themselves to be, either as individuals or as a society. The first significant American novels were Gothic, and the Gothic is central to the works of the Dark Romantics Poe, Hawthorne and Melville, and to the poetry of Dickinson. The importance of Gothicism continued, perhaps surprisingly, in the decades after the Civil War (1861–5), a period often described as the ‘Age of Realism’, and in works of Naturalism by Norris, Robinson, Crane and London. The Gothic, from the beginning, drove technical innovation in American literature, and is responsible for some of its finest works.
Most readers agree that Faulkner’s Indian characters are romanticized, if not grotesquely stereotypical; the author himself readily admitted that he “made them up.” Indeed, neither Faulkner nor his critics seem able to conceive of his Indian as anything more than a static, romantic, obsolete trope, despite the fact that Natives appeared frequently and suggestively at the margins of his world, and that they reappeared in his fiction as self-buttressing concepts sited uncannily between reality and fantasy - an imaginary supplement or alter ego that presents a compensatory and destabilizing fiction for the white southern subject. This chapter argues that we need to acknowledge how very intimate and “real” this Indian is in order to fully appreciate the significance of their symbolic transubstantiations. There are Indians hidden in plain sight throughout Faulkner’s career in ways we have hardly begun to notice, and their “disappearance” is the product of an unspoken collusion between Faulkner’s stated method and our symptomatic critical misprision. His Indians are finally there and not-there at the same time, mirroring an uncanny vacancy in the white southern ego that both desires and rejects their supplemental knowledge.
This chapter uses the work of Toni Morrison, especially Song of Solomon, to explore the racialised history of finance in America. The first section suggests that the two intertextual reference points for this novel, William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, provide a telling history of those key moments in America – the 1870s, the 1930s and the 1960s – in which credit has been associated with false promise and dispossession for the African Americans. Its second section uses this context to trace the narrative of the protagonist of Song of Solomon, Milkman Dead, as he uncovers the loss that has constructed his own family history. Morrison traces this racialised history of finance, especially the self-ownership promised by insurance, to explore the particular and paradoxical crisis in the credit cultures of the 1970s. The novel reads the politics of the contemporary by returning to the old failures of both the New South and the New Deal and reckons with the persistent and still-present legacies of a credit system that was rooted in the trade in humans.
This chapter examines the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s legal legacy through the novel prosecution of forced marriage as a crime against humanity. In the various SCSL trials, the Prosecutor had invoked “other inhumane acts” to argue that forcing kidnapped women and girls to marry militants during the civil war constituted a crime against humanity. As the Court would ultimately only hold that the AFRC and the RUF cases met the elements of the crime against humanity of forced marriage, the chapter examines the diverging rulings of two separate trial chambers on the new crime. The chapter then analyzes the Appeals Chamber’s ruling and interpretation of the precedents from the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in progressing the recognition of gender-based crimes. The chapter goes on to assess whether the Appeals Chamber judgment was based on existing law or whether the Court had sought to progressively develop the law to recognize forced marriage as a crime against humanity. Finally, it addresses the fair trial concerns raised by the addition of new crimes during an ongoing criminal proceeding. The author concludes that the Special Court rulings in this area constitute landmark contributions to international law.
Chapter 5 analyzes slave societies in the Leeward Islands by focusing on slave law and communities of free people of color. Within the microregion, slave laws and free communities brought together different colonies in different ways. New trans-imperial networks formed on the basis of the growing population of free people of color traversing the region, forming connections across colonial and imperial borders and strengthening the integration and communication between nonwhite communities. At the institutional level, legal codes became a crucial arena for contesting authority between imperial capitals and colonial territories. Such laws were also prime examples of the adaptation and translation of codes and practices taking place across different colonies, ultimately creating a number of legal norms that spanned imperial borders. Colonial legal codes functioned both as a force of institutional oppression and, with time, as an arena for pushing back against such oppression. The chapter also analyzes the practice of maritime marronage, as enslaved individuals threw off their shackles and fled across the water to freedom or greater autonomy within a different imperial jurisdiction.
While later chapters examine the institution of slavery through its legal framework and the dynamics of the slave trade, Chapter 3 looks at the way in which the fear of slave uprisings shaped the security complex of the islands and became a significant force for intercolonial integration. Although the microregion thus increasingly took on the state-like functions of an internal security guarantor, such practices did not completely supplant existing inter-imperial rivalries. Rather, these two dynamics – mutual security reliance and political rivalry over trade and territory – coexisted in an uneasy constellation, the balance between them often depending on the strength of local and imperial ties of centrally placed actors within the islands’ intercolonial networks. The first half of the chapter analyzes the mutual security networks of the Leeward Islands associated with slave revolts, while the second half explores inter-imperial warfare in the region, with a particular focus on the prolonged periods of military occupations of smaller islands by the British Empire in particular.
Comparing the letters to the Philippians and to Philemon brings to light important aspects of Paul’s thought and practice – in particular, how certain key theological commitments are practically enacted when they encounter situational differences. Capturing a sense of what Paul is doing in these letters is best done by grasping what the problems were that he was addressing and considering how the letters deploy a set of rhetorical strategies to resolve those problems. The specific contextualized instantiation of Jesus-like relationships in Colossae is clearly different from its instantiation in Philippi; but the underlying strategy of mobilizing a story of Jesus (both conceptually by letter, as well as directly and personally through a disciple or envoy) remains the same. Paul clearly believes that Jesus, rightly understood and rightly followed, makes a difference to the basic issue that tends to concern all communities, namely, how people relate to one another.
In his robust and polarizing style, Paul makes claims that have provoked readers in numerous ways, at times spurring admirers to follow daring paths with radical implications for theology, but sometimes irritating his critics, who have raised numerous objections on theological, philosophical, and moral grounds. Paul divides opinion as much today as he did in his own lifetime. This essay discusses five topics where Paul proves to be challenging. In each case, we will trace how Paul subverts some aspects of an ancient value-system, not by a straightforward inversion of values but by his reconfiguration of what is good and necessary around the event of Christ crucified and risen. In many cases we will find that there is a partial match between Paul’s Christological configuration of values and the liberal values espoused by the majority of intellectuals in the modern West, with respect to justice, equality, freedom, and human rights. If Paul is to remain in any sense a constructive challenge, we will need to deploy a creative theological hermeneutic, which attempts to recontextualize Paul’s core insights in our own very different historical, intellectual, and social setting.
The chapter examines the evolution over the past twenty years of a complex transnational legal order or TLO around the 2000 Palermo Protocol on Trafficking. It elaborates on why despite the Protocol’s high rates of ratification, the anti-trafficking TLO is poorly institutionalized attributing it to the various phases of the TLO’s development, the discursive and ideological issues that are at its core, the factors for its institutionalization relating to concordance and issue alignment, and the varied regulatory fields that it has implicated. Paradoxically however, the criminal justice approach to trafficking inherent in the Palermo Protocol remains hegemonic. This hegemony however cannot be simply attributed to the unidirectional influence and dissemination of transnational (and Western) ideas about how to address the problem. Rather, using the example of the India, the chapter shows how national legal contexts are crucial to when and how the logic of criminalization is pursued. The recursive nature of the trafficking TLO is therefore significant and helps explain the normative basis for the authority of transnational law.
The second chapter deals with the emergence of pastoralism in the region. Three controversial versions of pastoralisation are discussed: pastoralisation brought about by immigrating specialised herder communities, pastoralisation as a consequence of slave raiding and political centralisation in southern Angola, and gradual pastoralisation within a forager context. The chapter offers an in-depth study of oral traditions which have much detail on this process. They depict communities that practise both foraging and pastoral strategies. The phase of gradual pastoralisation comes to an abrupt end when Nama commandos from the south raid north-west Namibia's pastoral communities and violently force them into exile in southern Angola. The engagement of refugees with Portuguese colonial forces as mercenaries and cheap labourers helped them to regain livestock and options as pastoralists.
This article examines revolutionary discourses of national historical transformation in Bolivia and tracks the ways those discourses are appropriated, contested, and recast by farmers in the rural agricultural province of Ayopaya. During fieldwork carried out with Quechua-speaking farmers in Ayopaya between 2011 and 2012, I learned about people's enduring concerns with a recent hacienda past. Against governmental declarations that Bolivia's colonial past was dead or had passed, farmers meditated on the duration of earlier histories of colonial land dispossession and violations of indigenous sovereignty. Talk about the region's oppressive history here allowed people to assess deficient state aid and resources but also to oppose unwelcome state interventions pushing a legal model of bounded collectivity. I trace the ways that farmers and villagers mobilized the hacienda past to address inequitable land tenure, violated sovereignty, and women's marginalization from political life, and thereby raise new questions about the critical possibilities opened up by the re-politicization of this colonial history. Rural support for Bolivia's Movement Toward Socialism party government eroded nearly a decade ago, and this complicates both triumphalist and defeatist accounts of President Evo Morales’ 2019 resignation, which tend to paint Morales’ rural indigenous supporters as innocent and naïve.
The new history of capitalism (NHC) places a great deal of emphasis on slavery as a crucial world institution. Slavery, it is alleged, arose out of, and underpinned, capitalist development. This article starts by showing the intellectual and scholarly foundations of some of the broad conclusions of the NHC. It proceeds by arguing that capitalist transformation must rely on a global framework of analysis. The article considers three critiques in relation to the NHC. First, the NHC overemphasizes the importance of coercion to economic growth in the eighteenth century. We argue that what has been called ‘war capitalism’ might be better served by an analysis in which the political economy of European states and empires, rather than coercion, is a key factor in the transformation of capitalism at a global scale. Second, in linking slavery to industrialization, the NHC proposes a misleading chronology. Cotton produced in large quantities in the United States came too late to cause an Industrial Revolution which, we argue, developed gradually from the latter half of the seventeenth century and which was well established by the 1790s, when cotton started to arrive from the American South. During early industrialization, sugar, not cotton, was the main plantation crop in the Americas. Third, the NHC is overly concentrated on production and especially on slave plantation economies. It underplays the ‘power of consumption’, where consumers came to purchase increasing amounts of plantation goods, including sugar, rice, indigo, tobacco, cotton, and coffee. To see slavery’s role in fostering the preconditions of industrialization and the Great Divergence, we must tell a story about slavery’s place in supporting the expansion of consumption, as well as a story about production
Chapter 2 discusses smallpox inoculation (variolation) in the late eighteenth century. The development of a light form of the procedure, which reduced its risks and costs, made it increasingly familiar in Britain and the English-speaking world from the 1760s. The practice likewise gained new credit, as a calculated risk, in elite and enlightened circles in continental Europe. Rulers like Catherine the Great promoted the practice, recognising its potential value to the state as well as the individual. In England, the emergence of specialist inoculators seeking the commercial edge, the practice of ‘general inoculations’ in villages, and the public health risks of popular recourse to the practice in urban settings brought to light cases of individuals previously infected with cowpox being resistant to smallpox and provided the technology and incentive to explore the possible advantages of inoculating cowpox as a safe alternative. In the meantime, the rapid expansion of smallpox inoculation, not least in European colonies, provided a launching pad for the global spread of vaccination in the decade after 1800.
In 1886, a frost unleashed by the region’s most powerful mountain deity, Tzuultaq’a Xucaneb, to seek revenge for coffee production and private property set off a millennial revolt. In the wake of this moral and spiritual crisis, Q’eqchi’s searched for new intermediaries and forged cross-racial alliances. In the wake of the frost, some rural Q’eqchi’s expressed another time, deeply inflected by the belief that mountain spirits were themselves historical agents. Others opened a national debate over the place of “slavery” in a modernizing nation in alliance with ladino indigenistas. Despite the temporary abolition of coerced labor, however, a political and economic crisis in 1897 drove the return to coerced labor and set the stage for a new plantation economy.
Chapter 12 discusses the severity of smallpox in the New World and the use of smallpox inoculation to control smallpox in the West Indies and suppress epidemics in Spanish America. Early attempts to introduce cowpox in Jamaica and elsewhere led to disappointment, but local initiatives began to bear fruit prior to the arrival of the Spanish Royal and Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition in 1804. This well documented expedition, in which children under vaccination were escorted to go arm-to-arm with others along the way, naturally commands centre stage. Projecting an image of professional expertise and imperial benevolence, Dr Balmis and his assistants brought vaccination to Venezuela and helped to set the practice on a firmer organisational footing in Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico. In the meantime, Salvany, his deputy, headed south through Colombia and Peru, vaccinating on an epic scale. Although Lima was already supplied with vaccine from Brazil by way of Buenos Aires, Salvany continued his work in the remote districts of Peru until his death in 1810. His assistant, Grajales, remained in harness in Chile until 1812.
The culmination of the clash between two conceptions of infidel dominium and world order expressed itself most dramatically at the Valladolid junta of the Spanish imperial court. This debate put on perspicuous display two opposed ethics of evangelization embedded in the theology and canon law of the Latin West: an apostolic method of peaceful preaching and a coercive method of missionary war. Las Casas and Sepúlveda, respectively, took up these two approaches with startling results. Drawing on biblical and theological legal sources, both deployed natural law and the law of nations to advance their political arguments concerning Christian-infidel relations, thus signaling the ambivalent ideological tone of international relations in the West. Whereas Sepúlveda defended the justice of Spanish imperial dispossession of native peoples through war, Las Casas radically accounted for Amerindian claims of just war against European aggressors. By turning to Valladolid in depth, the unique scholastic theological and juristic contributions of Las Casas and the Spanish Dominicans appear with greater salience for international legal thought. Additionally, the understated ideological vestiges of Sepúlveda’s Spanish imperial humanism for early modern and modern European expansion also come into sharp relief.
Chapter 3 addresses the most brazen instance of rogue diplomacy in the annals of U.S. statecraft: envoy Nicholas Trist's all but single-handed forging of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after he had been fired - not once but twice - by President James K. Polk. Trist's epochal act of mutiny obtained all the territory Polk had initially authorized him to demand - California, New Mexico, and Texas as far south as the Rio Grande - and at half the envisioned price: $15 million as opposed to $30 million. It also, I contend, saved the United States from the ordeal of a long, debilitating, and expensive guerrilla war with Mexico that would have poisoned U.S.-Latin American relations for over a century. Although Trist was ultimately arrested for his defiance of the president and spent the rest of his life working dead-end jobs to provide for his children, he did more than any other individual to make Manifest Destiny a reality. Trist's triumph, I argue, was in great part a consequence of his personality, for which the term "rebellious" could have been invented. I dig deep into Trist's life and career(s), establishing a constant pattern of behavior: he could not defer to authority, no matter how essential submission was to worldly success. This character defect, which would seem fatal for a diplomat, ironically facilitated Trist's great work in the winter of 1847-48.
Stories and representations of suffering are frequently central to attempts to arouse our emotions and initiate political action. Yet, the evocation of emotion and, in particular, empathy, remains politically ambivalent. It does not necessarily lead to the acknowledgement of political responsibility or to actions to address the historically-constituted roots of contemporary structural injustices. Moving beyond the legal, moral, and institutional boundaries of political responsibility, this article argues for greater recognition of its affective dimensions. In particular, it differentiates between a sentimental politics and testimonial empathy to better understand the affective dynamics of political responsibility. While the former finds close company with pity and a lack of acknowledged political responsibility, the latter offers an ethical–political orientation towards radical reflexivity and social transformation, situating experiences of injustice within wider networks of power, privilege, and agency. Drawing on the work of feminist, cultural, and social theorists, the article offers a critical conceptualisation of testimonial empathy and its limits. The article illustrates the insights offered by re-thinking political responsibility in terms of testimonial empathy through a close reading of a historical account of structural injustice – slavery in the United States – as written in Harriet A. Jacobs’ 1861 slave narrative.