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“Shadows of Haiti” examines echoes of the Haitian Revolution in three texts from the extended Caribbean: Victor Séjour’s “Le Mulâtre,”, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab, and Charles Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand F.M.C. After an overview of world-systems theory and an introduction to the historical context in which each of these texts is situated, this chapter compares the ways in which the potentially violent revolt of a mixed-race heterosexual male protagonist is neutered or silenced by the conventions of sentiment. Haunting all three texts is the dark shadow of the violent revolt in Saint-Domingue, enmeshed with the consequences of deadly family secrets related to race and violence. In “Le Mulâtre” and Sab, the male protagonist dies. In Paul Marchand F.M.C, however, the hero survives but is silenced and forced into exile in France.
Despite the centrality of place to H. P. Lovecraft and Jeff VanderMeer’s fiction, weird regionalisms have largely been ignored in literary criticism. This essay not only reads The Southern Reach trilogy through the lens of region, but also reads region through the lens of The Southern Reach trilogy. It contrasts Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” with VanderMeer’s trilogy to highlight how they both develop a weird aesthetics of the Plantationocene. The chapter argues that weird fiction in the U.S. has always been underwritten by racialized and regionalized ideologies that derive from slavery and the plantation. The New England exceptionalism Lovecraft endorses is founded on concepts of personhood, nature, and region that legitimate the dehumanization of African Americans and other people of color. In contrast, VanderMeer presents the indisputably southern terrain of the Gulf Coast in a way that does not rely on “the South” as a significant framework. The Southern Reach portrays a sparsely populated Gulf Coast that is not so much post-southern as it is post-Earth: VanderMeerian Florida camouflages something very different, and much more weird, than region as southern studies scholars often think of it.
The African reception of Christianity is compared to that of Islam and found to be similar, with a pattern of quarantine, mixing, and reform. The story in West Africa is told via the connection to the slave trade, slavery itself, and the back-to-Africa movement. Cases from East and South Africa are also presented, and the chapter concludes with a discussion of Pentecostalism.
This essay presents a historical and critical overview of the antebellum plantation romance, or novels written by southerners and those sympathetic to the slaveholding South that deliberately manage the representation of the plantation space for a broader reading public. These representations, in their attempts to shape the image of the U.S. South around the idea of a unified, pastoral community, are reliant on the networks that made plantation culture possible in the first place: global trading, the rise of industrialism, and, of course, slavery. As such, the plantation in works such as John Pendleton Kennedy’s Swallow Barn (1832), George Tucker’s The Valley of Shenandoah (1824), Maria J. McIntosh’s The Lofty and the Lowly (1852), and William Gilmore Simms’s Woodcraft (1852/54) emerges as a heterogeneous entity. With these dynamic elements at play, despite its perceived regional limitations, the genre of the southern plantation romance reveals the conflicting forces that were the main currents in nineteenth-century culture and society.
This essay revises traditional notions of the plantation as antithetical to modernity by linking foundational Anglo-American writings about the plantation to English Enlightenment thought. By examining writings about the American plantation enterprise ranging from Thomas Harriot’s Briefe and True Report of the New-Found Land of Virginia (1588/1590) to John Locke’s Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina (1669), this essay establishes a clear relationship between practical considerations of settlement and epistemological and ethical questions central to Enlightenment thinking. Harriot’s text, for instance, performs a shift from deductive to inductive reasoning when considering plantation settlement, thereby anticipating the modern scientific method. Locke’s contribution, however, presages a more dissonant relationship between evolving Enlightenment ideals and the American plantation system as notions such as climatic determinism and the immorality of enslavement became more pervasive.
This essay examines representations of maroons and marronage in nineteenth-century African American literature. It argues that maroons – enslaved people who fled from bondage and self-exiled to remote places like swamps, forests, and mountains – complicate the familiar notion of the U.S. South as a place of unfreedom for African Americans during the era of slavery. Like maroons themselves, whose lives necessitated concealment, marronage has often been overlooked in nineteenth-century African American literature because it does not comport with a teleology of freedom-seeking that originates in the South and moves unidirectionally toward the supposed beacons of freedom in the North and Canada. It reveals that enslaved people who participated in acts of marronage created spaces of freedom within the slaveholding South, spaces that linked them to diasporic traditions of enslaved resistance via marronage throughout the further souths of the Caribbean and Latin America.
This chapter focuses on Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Among the critical issues tdiscussed are the literary relationship between Ephesians and Colossians, the significance of the haustafeln in their various forms, and early Christian attitudes toward slavery.
The material conditions of the years between 1800 and 1830 rendered Black authors and much of African American literature “out of bounds.” Contributors engage literature by people of African descent outside of slavery’s fetters, or Black cultural producers creating work deemed untoward, or literatures developed outside the covers of bound books. In this period, the idea of Black literature was plagued not only by prohibitions on literacy and circumscription on Black people’s mobility, but also by ambivalence about what in fact would have been acceptable public discourse for people of African descent. This volume explores African American literature that elided the suppression of African American thought by directly confronting the urgencies of the moment, especially themes related to the pursuit and the experience of freedom. Transitions in the social, political, and cultural conditions of the decades in question show themselves in literary production at the turn of the nineteenth century. This volume focuses on transitions in organizational life (section 1), in mobility (section 2), in print circulation (section 3), and in visual culture (section 4).
John Staines explores the role of compassion in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave (1688). He argues that although the novel’s attitude towards slavery is complicated, its pathos makes readers feel compassion for an injustice committed against a noble human. Behn’s narrative stands at the start of the creation of the modern novel, a new genre that justified itself as a means of educating readers in sentiment and sympathy. Yet Behn’s decision to end her story by torturing and dismembering her hero is, by the standards of later novels, shockingly indecorous as it forces readers to confront his body in a final scene of compassion. In this chapter, John Staines demonstrates that the appeal to compassion is central to Behn’s text, as it is central to neoclassical discussions of rhetoric and poetics. Oroonoko’s pathos helped it continue to have influence long after its political interventions had passed into obscurity and irrelevance. Its shared suffering endured.
This chapter looks to literary and legal narratives from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century to trace how women’s bodies function as a site where the definitions of slavery and freedom, person, and property, have been continually refined. From the settler era until well into the twentieth century, American readers were drawn to stories – both in law and in literature – that sought to distribute varieties of female unfreedom along a racialized spectrum ranging from private property to articles of commerce. As these stories progress, and insistence on clear racial distinctions becomes ever more explicit, the tropes of prison and pregnancy emerge as two means of rendering women’s capacity to exert her private will a matter requiring public discipline.
Time plays a key role in this book. The last two chapters discussed two reasons why time matters to the life of property: over time, owners effect voluntary changes to property in order to carry out their life plans and the state imposes involuntary changes (from the individual owner’s perspective) in response to changing circumstances, shifting needs and wants, and revised public goals. For the state to function – and to remain justified on liberal principles – the government must have this ability to adjust ownership. However, state-initiated transitions to ownership – implemented through governments’ police and takings powers – are potentially devastating to the owners’ ability to be the authors of their own lives.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s 1869 serialized novel Minnie’s Sacrifice offers a critique of white feminism’s failures at antiracism. This chapter reads Harper’s critiques of white feminism within the historical context of her and other black women’s intersectional activism and the larger print context of the Christian Recorder. Harper’s work within the women’s rights movement made her familiar with white feminism’s failures, in which women like Harper’s character Camilla, the antislavery daughter of an enslaver family, prioritize their own interests, claim positions of victimization, and foist labor onto Black people, all while claiming to be allies. Harper’s novel is not a narrative of white feminist progress but demise, as her mixed-race Black characters distance themselves from white feminist ideals. Harper’s novel illustrates how – even while discussing the extreme anti-Black racism of slavery, disenfranchisement, and lynching – Black women activists were not fooled by insufficient forms of allyship.
This study examines a network of writers that coalesced around the publication of The History of Mary Prince (1831), which recounts Prince's experiences as an enslaved person in the West Indies and the events that brought her to seek assistance from the Anti-Slavery Society in London. It focuses on the three writers who produced the text - Mary Prince, Thomas Pringle, and Susanna Moodie - with glances at their pro-slavery opponent, James MacQueen, and their literary friends and relatives. The History connects the Black Atlantic, a diasporic formation created through the colonial trade in enslaved people, with the Anglophone Atlantic, created through British migration and colonial settlement. It also challenges Romantic ideals of authorship as an autonomous creative act and the literary text as an aesthetically unified entity. Collaborating with Prince on the History's publication impacted Moodie's and Pringle's attitudes towards slavery and shaped their own accounts of migration and settlement.
In 1821, as the Wars of Independence drew to a close, officials of the newly created republic of Gran Colombia passed a national gradual emancipation law. At the center of it was a Free Womb law that declared legally free the children of enslaved women born after the law's promulgation, while bonding these children to their mothers’ masters until the age of 18. Yet, in addition to establishing a term limit on their legalized captivity, the law stipulated conditions for the commerce in Free Womb children, laying the groundwork for what I refer to as the Free Womb trade. This article presents the first detailed exploration of the origins, operations, and limitations of the Free Womb trade in Colombia, particularly at the level of one province: the northwestern Pacific coastal province of Chocó. I argue that the trade created distinctly bounded market geographies of Free Womb children, who were actively, if at times ambiguously, incorporated into Colombia's slave economy. As a general rule, the Free Womb trade placed captive families at the mercy of their masters; yet, as one extraordinary case reveals, the full extent of the local trade's legal power was not entirely secure.
For Europeans, Matteo Ricci's mission memoirs proved to be the most comprehensive and accessible book about China. Ricci's account of the early Jesuit mission was immensely popular, receiving translations into most European languages. Until the twentieth century, however, anyone who read Ricci's narrative was not reading what Ricci himself had written. Rather, they were reading a curated translation produced by one of his successors, Nicolas Trigault. The resulting work, De Christiana Expeditione apud Sinas, was an edited translation, substantially the same but often different than Ricci's original manuscript.
This article reexamines Trigault's translation, on its own terms, as an artefact of globalisation. Not only does the adaptation reveal information about the Jesuit missions that Ricci's manuscript did not, but it also had a significant impact on European Catholics, as its dissemination inspired would-be missionaries to seek their vocations in China.
This article examines early Christian theories about the identity and role of Mark as transmitter of Petrine tradition. Building upon recent work in classics, it argues that the identification of Mark as Peter's interpreter, the description of his composition as lacking order and his reported excellent memory would have led ancient readers of Papias to conclude that Mark was performing literate servile work. The positioning of Mark in this way strengthened claims about the accuracy of Mark's text.
This chapter explains how and why The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race would have been nearly impossible to create thirty years ago. It traces how the volume requires scholars who know not only Shakespeare’s works, the historical and cultural milieu of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries in England and Europe, and the archives that hold the historical documents from these time periods, but also the history of imperialism, alternative archives that reveal more about the various lives of people of color in the early modern world, and the history of Shakespeare’s employment in various theatrical, educational, and political moments in history – from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first century. Post-colonial studies, African American studies, critical race studies, and queer studies allow scholars to apply new methodologies to Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
Linking the royal Tudor archive to the Tudor/Stuart stage, this article discloses the ways the stage constructs race in the service of nation and empire. From Elizabeth I’s proclamations calling for the expulsion of ‘blackamoors’ to George Peele’s The Battle of Alcazar, English conceptions of blackness expose the multifaceted nature of racial formation in the early modern period. The construction of race in early modern England is intimately linked to nascent and emergent English imperial ambitions and dependent upon trade, traffic, and enslavement, particularly in Africa. While previous scholarship on The Battle of Alcazar has focused on the Mediterranean milieu and the seemingly elastic racial signification of the identity marker, Moor, this study shifts both the geographical and racial focus to argue that the Atlantic and Africa are significant sites of imperial interest for the English and that blackness is being discursively produced in order to signal race.
This chapter provides an overview of the French circum-Atlantic novel, as written primarily by metropolitan whites, between 1697 and 1807—the period in which both the French novel and French slavery evolved. The chapter links canonical novels, such as Prevost's Manon Lescaut and Voltaire's Candide, to the major themes and narrative mapping of less well-known colonial fictions by Alexandre-Olivier Oexmelin, Jean-François de Saint-Lambert, Germaine de Staël, and Jean-Baptiste Picquenard, and others. The chapter summarizes some of the major critical explanations for the relative paucity of representations of slavery in eighteenth-century French fiction as well as some accounts of colonial reading and writing among whites and people of colour in French Caribbean colonies. It argues that the French circum-Atlantic novel evolved as an imaginative space in which chattel slavery was transformed into an aesthetic atmosphere for depicting human enslavement to passion rather than human enslavement to humans. Emerging as the characteristic element of this fiction, the harangue spoken by the revolting slave leader or abused woman of colour translated historical slavery into a colonial hamartia, the internal flaw or enslavement to destiny.