Synopses & Reviews
These essays, by some of the most prominent young historians writing about slavery, fill gaps in our understanding of such subjects as enslaved women, the Atlantic and internal slave trades, the relationships between Indians and enslaved people, and enslavement in Latin America. Inventive and stimulating, the essays model the blending of methods and styles that characterizes the new cultural history of slaverys social, political, and economic systems.
Several common themes emerge from the volume, among them the correlation between race and identity; the meanings contained in family and community relationships, gender, and lifes commonplaces; and the literary and legal representations that legitimated and codified enslavement and difference. Such themes signal methodological and pedagogical shifts in the field away from master/slave or white/black race relations models toward perspectives that give us deeper access to the mental universe of slavery.
Topics of the essays range widely, including European ideas about the reproductive capacities of African women and the process of making race in the Atlantic world, the contradictions of the assimilation of enslaved African American runaways into Creek communities, the consequences and meanings of death to Jamaican slaves and slave owners, and the tensions between midwifery as a black cultural and spiritual institution and slave midwives as health workers in a plantation economy.
Opening our eyes to the personal, the contentious, and even the intimate, these essays call for a history in which both enslaved and enslavers acted in a vast human drama of bondage and freedom, salvation and damnation, wealth and exploitation.
"This collection sets the agenda for a new generation of slavery studies."--Drew Gilpin Faust, author of Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War
"A remarkably good collection of essays that conceives of 'American' in an appropriately expansive way and presents the work of some of the most innovative and dynamic young scholars in the field.”--Steven Hahn, author of A Nation Under our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration
These ten chapters provide insightful discussion on the current study of enslavement. . . . this work contributes to the wealth of revisionist slavery literature emerging on the varying people, locales, and internal factors of slavery."--Southern Historian
"Offers exceptionally well written, interesting, and innovative approaches that promise to breathe new interpretive life into what many may consider an old topic . . . As one of the stronger anthologies in the field published in recent years, this collection will be useful to specialists and students alike . . . the range of interpretations and the nuanced understandings of American slavery will certainly benefit scholars for years to come.”--Journal of Southern History
"[These] essays bring into clearer focus the long-suspected complexity of daily life in the North American slave labor system."--History
"Edward E. Baptist and Stephanie M. H. Camp's New Studies in the History of American Slavery
is an important addition to this growing body of literature, as even the sections that focus on slavery in the plantation South do so in innovative ways."—Journal of Southern Religion
About the Author
Edward E. Baptist is an assistant professor of history at Cornell University and the author of Creating an Old South. Stephanie M. H. Camp, associate professor of history at the University of Washington, is the author of Closer to Freedom.
Read an exclusive essay by Edward E. Baptist