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The USA is born as a site of intense struggle in and out of the musical realm. Escapees from slavery sing of such heroes as the maroon leader Jean St. Malo, songs are sung over “The Rights of Woman,” and the labor movement produces its first store of agit-prop songs. As the Indigenous peoples of the east stare into the face of settler-colonial encroachment, the nascent music industry erupts with sentimental songs about the “Noble Savage” and the “Vanishing Indian.” Partisans of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson fight their battles through song, and the Louisiana Purchase doubles the size of the USA and the territory for musical conflict. The rise of the “Injun Fighter” has its own soundtrack, eliding the continued seizure of Indigenous territory. The War of 1812 gives birth to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” while the songs of conscientious objectors are pushed to the margins. Blackface minstrelsy emerges as one of the greatest cultural challenges to Black American self-definition. Meanwhile, eastern cities are bursting at the seams with the steady influx of European immigrants, and the hawks of Manifest Destiny look westward to Texas, Mexico, and beyond, buttressed by shrill musical calls to “Remember the Alamo!”
Songwork is central to the project of Elizabethan settler colonialism, with English ballads justifying the violence of conquest and reinforcing the stereotypes of Indigenous “savagery” in the Virginia colony. With the introduction of kidnapped Africans as slaves in 1619, the mysteries of African song become the preoccupation of British commentators, who can make neither head nor tail of it. Music becomes a site of colonial policing with the prohibition of African drumming and the attempted control of song. Yet the songs of the oppressed are not wholly stilled, neither in the fields and praise houses of the African bondspeople, nor in the ballads of indentured servants from the prisons and poorhouses of the British Isles. Meanwhile, on the fringes of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts, iconoclast Thomas Morton establishes his Merrymount settlement and infuriates the Puritan elders with his maypole and his bacchanalian ballads, marking perhaps the first instance of secular song as a challenge to the governing establishment. The musical soundscapes of two wars of Puritan conquest – the Pequot War and King Philip’s War – are set against the wars between hymnody and psalmody in the Puritan church. The songs of Bacon’s Rebellion and the poor dragoons of the French and Indian War conclude the chapter.
Watch Night began when enslaved and free African Americans kept vigil, to sing and pray, on December 31, 1862, as they awaited news in the morning of the Emancipation Proclamation. Their optimism gave way to the nominal freedoms and rights of citizenship that African American families and communities experienced in the wake of emancipation and during Reconstruction. African American writers of these decades introduce descriptions of African landscapes, customs, values, and histories as metaphors for the uncertain status and tentative futures their people confronted after the Civil War and during Reconstruction. They associate the African continent with a variety of meanings: the brutal history of slavery; the erasure or dismissal of influential cultures and intellects; a persistent legacy of resistance to oppression and rebellion against bondage; the fugitive status of African Americans in their own country and as exiles abroad; and the precarity of racial progress even as Black schools, churches, and other self-sufficient institutions are established by formerly enslaved Black southern communities.
The violent disunion rhetorics that swelled in anticipation of Civil War crafted sectional identities for listeners, pitting the interests of opposing sides as irreconcilable. For some, embracing such sectional identities was a rhetorical process. The war-time diary of one Virginia plantation mistress, Ida Powell Dulany, serves as a case study to explore the process of sectional identification and to illustrate the role of proximity to war’s violence in ethos formation. The Dulany plantation, Oakley, sat on a major thoroughfare that both northern and southern troops sought to control, bringing war’s violence to its inhabitants. Oakley represents a site of competing and divergent rhetorical motives and a site of conflict over the meaning of the southern home. The concept of rhetorical becoming accounts for the circumstances, contexts, and locations that shape self-perception and rhetorical action, foregrounding the interplay of public discourses such as disunion rhetorics and individual experiences in shaping a sense of war-time ethos.
The non-agricultural economy of the ancient Greek world included crafts, trade, and services. Evidence for such, heavily biased towards Athens, is found via philosophical writing, comedy, forensic speeches, inscriptions, and archaeological finds. Elite attitudes, in which farming was the idealised citizen occupation, also impact the evidence. Nevertheless, at least 230 different terms for non-agricultural roles and occupations can be found in the sources (with many overlaps). Of these, fifty-three are for women. Workshops were generally small, with up to five or six craftsmen of low status, predominantly resident aliens (metics), freedmen or slaves. At least some rich citizens at Athens owned workshops, with a number of slaves perhaps able to live and work independently. Notable trades such as mining, marble-, bronze-, and metalwork, ceramics, and tanning seem to have clustered in common locations within cities and territories. Women’s non-agricultural economic roles seem to have been related mainly to textiles, retail of simple products, and provision of personal services.
Greek agriculture took place within a largely Mediterranean regime of annual, dry-farmed grains and pulses, alongside perennial vines and olives. Hesiod’s Works and Days, Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, the Attic orators, inscriptions, intensive survey, and comparative data from before 1950 form the main evidence. The agricultural year centred around winter sowing and summer harvest. Scholars propose two competing models of agriculture. Extensive agriculture used draft animals and biennial fallow and was more suited to at least mid-sized holdings, nucleated settlement, and transhumant livestock. Intensive agriculture required greater hand-cultivation and was suited to smaller plots, dispersed settlement, and mixed farming to provide year-round animal manure. High risk of crop failure made intensification, diversification, and storing a ‘normal surplus’ a rational subsistence strategy for smaller landowners. However, there is also evidence for connectivity and production for market. Debates over agricultural slavery, settlement, and possible intensification from the fifth century BCE intersect with the question of market participation.
Chapter 6 analyses systems of bondage on the lakeshore. It builds on recent works in Indian Ocean World history that have blurred the distinctions between slavery and freedom, and challenges trends in Africanist scholarship that have tended to analyse labour and social relations in these terms. It argues that the terms ‘slavery’ and ‘freedom’ do not do justice to the wide variety of bonded forms that existed on Lake Tanganyika’s shores. Most labourers living on the lakeshore were not concerned with the distinction of being either a ‘slave’ or ‘free’. Rather, they were concerned with who they were bonded to, the conditions of their bondage, and what this meant for their social status. In this instance (and perhaps paradoxically), some bonds(wo)men were able to claim ‘freeborn’ social status. They demonstrated this status through their display of material objects, their primary occupation, and their spiritual capabilities.
This chapter argues that American horror is defined both by its “paraliterary” status and by its representations of the bloodied body in pain. Unlike the more culturally prestigious category of the Gothic, which typically dwells on the crisis of the rational mind, horror has tended to appear in culturally maligned or ephemeral forms and focus on corporeal pain, violence, and distress. Horror's focus on the body, it is further suggested, stems from the modern American state's withholding of freedoms according to embodied characteristics: race, gender, sexuality, ability, and so on. The historical appearance of horror narratives often correlates to crisis and tensions surrounding the expansion of the civil and political rights that centrist liberalism promised, so that when previously excluded or marginalized groups begin to demand inclusion and recognition of their past disempowerment, horror becomes a medium especially electric with these concerns.
The Greek world from ca. 750 onwards saw the establishment of wealthy elites, the widespread use of chattel and other slaves, and the occupation of new territories across the Mediterranean, all of which laid the groundwork for later developments. Elite property owners exploited the labour of the free poor, thereby adding to their own surpluses while keeping levels of consumption in the wider community minimal and archaeologically invisible. Only when and where social unrest or outright civil war led to restrictions on exploitation, and when new trading opportunities emerged around 600, did a middling class begin to establish itself, and to create demand for a range of staples that they could not produce themselves. In the late sixth century, the economic and social structure of the classical Greek world took shape, as regional and local specialisation and trade networks reached a level that enabled significant – if unquantifiable – per capita growth. Not all parts of the Greek world shared equally in these developments. Sparta, Crete, and Thessaly retained a polarised social structure of leisured elite and slave workers and continued to aim at agricultural self-sufficiency, institutionalising key features of the old predatory regimes that other Greeks were leaving behind.
This chapter surveys the major developments in the economic history of the Greek world in the classical period (479–323 BCE). While agricultural practices and productive capacities did not change dramatically, this was a period characterized by a massive increase in the demand for certain commodities, especially timber for the ship-building and monumental-construction efforts of the period and grain to meet the dietary needs of a growing human population. It also considers the major developments in the supply and circulation of coinage in the classical period and the emergence of private banking and the expansion of credit, all of which facilitated both local and long-distance trade. As trade intensified throughout the Aegean and poleis developed more sophisticated institutions for local governance, they developed strategies to derive revenue from trade and imposed regulations on both the production and trade of commodities in which they had a special interest.
Chapter 2 examines an ‘agricultural revolution’ in the rural areas around Lake Tanganyika’s emporia, characterised by changes in labour regime, crop choice, and land-use. It uses climatological sources and the wider context of the Indian Ocean monsoon system to examine how the introduction of new crops (cassava, maize, and rice) affected agricultural productivity and vulnerability to the effects erratic climatic conditions, including droughts and floods. It argues that benign environmental conditions in the Indian Ocean World during mid-century contributed to the viability of large port-towns. However, erratic rainfall from 1876 onwards, the replacement of East African staples with less drought-resistant crops, and the increased demands on the region’s agricultural supplies from emporia and the caravan trade exacerbated trends towards violence and instability during the late 1870s and 1880s.
This chapter explores the discourses used to construct disability as different in nineteenth-century Britain and its empire. First, I argue that in this period a constellation of figures came to be seen as a class of people distinct from the remainder of the British population. The census and philanthropic literature functioned to crystallise disability as something tangible and other. Conceptualising disabled people in this way required considerable discursive, architectural, administrative, philanthropic and pedagogical work and this work occurred both in the empire overseas and at home in imperial Britain. Secondly, I argue that the status of Britain, throughout the nineteenth century, as the heart of a global empire, was crucial to how ideas about disability came to be formed. My third argument is that whilst empire shaped the way in which disability was constructed, the reverse was also true: thinking about disability moulded the way in which the colonial ‘other’ was imagined. People of colour who may otherwise be considered non-disabled were repeatedly described using language that evoked disablement. My overarching argument is, therefore, that discourses of race and disability, whilst not one and the same, were not simply related discourses but were mutually constituted.
Scholars of women and girls in African history, focusing on gender and power within religious or colonial (slavery) contexts, have drawn our attention to sexual violence against girls and women. Despite what historians of slavery and imperial violence have noted about their vulnerability and survival strategies in ‘colonial’ and ‘postcolonial’ contexts, questions remain about sexual predation and slavery in earlier periods. In the Mina (Gold) Coast, there is little known about the lived experiences of enslaved and ‘freed’ girls and women in the sixteenth century, and this is especially true for females held captive or in proximity to Portuguese slaving and gold trading bases of operation. Although only three inquisitional trials exist, sources which provide rare African female voices in the Portuguese colonial and evangelical world, their unprecedented baseline evidence for those under Portuguese slaving and religious authority tell us much about sexual violence, slavery, and religious orthodoxy.
This Chapter tells the story of the author’s Chair – the Royall Chair at Harvard Law School – and of its donor and his marks. Isaac Royall, Jr., was during his lifetime the largest slaveholder in colonial Massachusetts. The Isaac Royall, Jr., brand has risen, and fallen, and risen again, and fallen again in political struggles spanning from his grandfather’s arrival in Maine as an indentured servant, to Isaac Royall, Jr.’s own precipitous flight from Boston after the commencement of the American revolution, to his former slave Belinda’s struggle for her due at his hands in which she denounced him for exploiting her, to Harvard University’s acceptance of his bequest of the Royall Chair, to the University’s adoption of his heraldic shield as a symbol of the Law School, to the conversion of the hagiographical Royall House museum to the Royall House and Slave Quarters, to a years-long struggle over racial justice at the Law School. It is the story of both the fragility and the durability of a brand that is rich in social meaning and unimportant enough to be transformed into the language of ever-shifting contemporary political struggle. It ends in medias res, the author being uncertain what comes next.
What do we do when a beloved comedian known as 'America's Dad' is convicted of sexual assault? Or when we discover that the man who wrote 'all men are created equal' also enslaved hundreds of people? Or when priests are exposed as pedophiles? From the popular to the political to the profound, each day brings new revelations that respected people, traditions, and institutions are not what we thought they were. Despite the shock that these disclosures produce, this state of affairs is anything but new. Facing the concrete task of living well when our best moral resources are not only contaminated but also potentially corrupting is an enduring feature of human experience. In this book, Karen V. Guth identifies 'tainted legacies' as a pressing contemporary moral problem and ethical challenge. Constructing a typology of responses to compromised thinkers, traditions, and institutions, she demonstrates the relevance of age-old debates in Christian theology for those who confront legacies tarnished by the traumas of slavery, racism, and sexual violence.
Olympe de Gouges, though a well-known historical figure, has not been investigated as a philosopher until quite recently. Yet, many of her writings have philosophical import, whether they are written in the genre of the philosophical treatise, drama or political pamphlets. In the three main sections, the author gives an overview of some of her arguments, showing their originality and their relevance to debates contemporary to her and to us. In the introduction, the author addresses the question of genre and argue that Gouges should be read as a philosopher, as well as a playwright and political writer. In the conclusion, the author draws out the relevance of her work for contemporary philosophers.
This chapter focuses on those Madagascar Youths sent to the neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. This group has received scant attention in the literature although they constituted the second largest group of Madagascar Youths despatched abroad for training under British supervision in the two decades following the British capture of the island in 1810. They numbered about thirty-five and were mostly males but included at least four females. In as much as the archives permit, the chapter examines their experiences on Mauritius where a substantial proportion of the slave population were Malagasy, and where the white population feared a Malagasy revolt.
Though in some ways Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802–1882) and Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) are contrasting figures in the history of American Romanticism, scholarship over the past thirty years connects them as writers whose work articulates concerns over race and enslavement. Moreover, critical recognition that each writer engages such matters emerged only in the late twentieth century, after decades of work that effaced each writer’s political resonance. This chapter approaches these issues through some of the signal trends that have informed scholarship on Emerson and Poe over the past thirty years.
In a review of Graham’s Magazine published in the March 1, 1845 issue of The Broadway Journal, Edgar Allan Poe predicted of magazine literature, “[i]n a few years its importance will be found to have increased in geometrical ratio” because “[t]he whole tendency of the age is Magazine-ward.” Busy mid-century readers, speeding along in “the rush of the age,” required a medium that kept pace. “We now demand the light artillery of the intellect,” Poe insisted: “we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused – in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible.”1 It can be difficult to pin down how seriously Poe took such declarations. Praise and ironic critique intertwine in his critical writings, as in subsequent paragraphs of this review, where he describes the engraving “Dacota Woman and the Assiniboin Girl” as “worthy of all commendation,” while another engraving in the same issue, “The Love Letter,” “has the air of having been carved by a very small child, with a dull knife, from a raw potato.”2 If Poe marks a genuine trend toward periodical forms of literature in the period, he also stages an ambiguous response to the trend, vacillating between praise and condemnation.