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In the 250 years before the Civil War, the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina was a brutal landscape—2,000 square miles of undeveloped and unforgiving wetlands, peat bogs, impenetrable foliage, and dangerous creatures. It was also a protective refuge for marginalized communities, including Native Americans, African-American maroons, free African Americans, and outcast Europeans. Here they created their own way of life, free of the exploitation and alienation they had escaped.

In the first thorough examination of this vital site, Daniel Sayers examines the area’s archaeological record, exposing and unraveling the complex social and economic systems developed by these defiant communities that thrived on the periphery. He develops an analytical framework based on the complex interplay between alienation, diasporic exile, uneven geographical development, and modes of production to argue that colonialism and slavery inevitably created sustained critiques of American capitalism.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. List of Figures
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. List of Tables
  2. p. xi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-13
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  1. 1. The Great Dismal Swamp Landscape, Then and Now
  2. pp. 14-26
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  1. 2. Alienation: A Foundational Concept
  2. pp. 27-50
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  1. 3. The Architecture of Alienation in Modern History
  2. pp. 51-83
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  1. 4. The Documented Great Dismal Swamp, 1585–1860
  2. pp. 84-113
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  1. 5. Scission Communities, Canal Company Laborer Communities, and Interpretations of Their Archaeological Presence in the Great Dismal Swamp
  2. pp. 114-199
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  1. 6. Two Hundred and Fifty Years of Community Praxis in the Great Dismal Swamp: Some Concluding Thoughts
  2. pp. 200-216
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 217-228
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  1. References Cited
  2. pp. 229-248
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 249-254
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