Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Note on Sources

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pp. xi-xii

The Barbados Department of Archives contains some 3,000 wills and inventories recorded in the second half of the seventeenth century. I examined all extant wills recorded between 1640 and 1685 and all inventories from the 1650s and 1660s. I examined all the extant wills (approximately 1,500) in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History for the ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-11

Slaveowners in the early English colonies depended upon and exploited African women. They required women’s physical labors in order to reap the profits of the colonies and they required women’s symbolic value in order to make sense of racial slavery. Women were enslaved in large numbers, they performed critical hard labor, and they served an essential ...

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Chapter 1. ‘‘Some Could Suckle over Their Shoulder’’: Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology

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pp. 12-49

Prior to their entry onto the stage of New World conquests, women of African descent lived in bodies unmarked by what would emerge as Europe’s preoccupation with physiognomy—skin color, hair texture, and facial features presumed to be evidence of cultural deficiency. Not until the gaze of European travelers fell upon them would African women see themselves, ...

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Chapter 2. ‘‘The Number of Women Doeth Much Disparayes the Whole Cargoe’’: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and West African Gender Roles

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pp. 50-68

The images that set African women so firmly apart from their European counterparts would resonate in myriad ways on the shores of Western and West Central Africa. European traders originally enticed by gold soon turned their attention to human cargo, and over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries slave ships would cross the Atlantic ...

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Chapter 3. ‘‘The Breedings Shall Goe with Their Mothers’’: Gender and Evolving Practices of Slaveownership in the English American Colonies

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pp. 69-106

Slaveowners in the early American colonies did more than simply appropriate the labor of others for their own gain. They hammered together an evolving set of social and cultural norms pertaining to Africans and their descendents that set in motion generations of violence wrought on both their bodies and their sense of self. Gender furnished one of the ...

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Chapter 4. ‘‘Hannah and Hir Children’’: Reproduction and Creolization Among Enslaved Women

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pp. 107-143

Slaveowners spent years working through convoluted notions about reproduction and the women they enslaved. In so doing they enacted various degrees of intrusion and violence upon the bodies of women who had already endured both the Middle Passage and the destruction of their futures. Slaveowners’ behaviors reflect their immersion in occasionally ...

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Chapter 5. ‘‘Women’s Sweat’’: Gender and Agricultural Labor in the Atlantic World

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pp. 144-165

While enslaved women grappled with the new dimensions and implications of their reproductive lives, they undertook considerable and onerous agricultural work.1 The preceding two chapters have emphasized the connectedness of reproduction and enslavement by exploring the ways in which reproduction functioned foundationally in the development of ...

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Chapter 6. ‘‘Deluders and Seducers of Each Other’’: Gender and the Changing Nature of Resistance

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pp. 166-195

Women’s experience of racial slavery at the hands of English colonizers suggests that the language of resistance and accommodation is always already insufficient. The dichotomies that emerge are uncomfortable. Women who became mothers enriched their captors’ estates while simultaneously creating the communities that would foster profoundly...

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Epilogue

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pp. 196-202

The women whose lives inform this study deserve and demand our attention. They deserve it because women existed at the center, not the margins, of the colonial landscape—in all its economic, social, political, and moral realms. Women enslaved in the American colonies found themselves at the intersection of ideologies that would profoundly shape the colonial ...

Notes

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pp. 203-250

Bibliography

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pp. 251-272

Index

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pp. 273-276

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 277-279

There is something about acknowledgment pages that I have always loved; perhaps because seeing the network that sustains the work of writing helps to give the lie to its isolation. For even though it is ultimately just a pile of pages, a purple pen, and me, many people and institutions allowed me to shut out all the other parts of my life in order to find the ...