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In this innovative study, Marietta Morrissey reframes the debate over slavery in the New World by focusing on the experiences of slave women. Rich in detail and rigorously comparative, her work illuminates the exploitation, achievements, and resilience of slave women in the British, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Danish colonies in the Caribbean from 1600 through the mid 1800s.

Morrissey examines a wide spectrum of experience among Caribbean slave women, including their work at home, in the fields, and as domestics; their roles as wives and mothers; their health, sexuality, and fertility; and their decline in status with the advent of industrialization and the abolition of slavery.

Life for these women, Morrissey shows, was much more hazardous, brutal, and fragmented than it was for their counterparts in the American South. These women were in a constant, dynamic struggle with men—both masters and fellow slaves—over the foundations of their social experience. This experience was defined both by their status as slaves and by gender inequality. On the one hand, their slave status gradually robbed them of their domain—the household economy—and created a kind of perverse equality in which slave women—like slave men—became “units of agricultural labor.” One the other hand, slave women were denied the access that slave men eventually gained to skilled agricultural work. The result of this gender inequality, as Morrissey convincingly demonstrates, was a further erosion of the status and authority of slave women within their own culture.

Morrissey’s study, which addresses significant issues in women’s history and black history, will go far toward reshaping our perceptions of slave life in the new world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half-Title Page, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface to the Kansas Open Books Edition
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xiii-xx
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  1. 1. A Theoretical Overview
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. 2. Women in the New World
  2. pp. 18-31
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  1. 3. Gender Ratios and Caribbean Slavery
  2. pp. 32-45
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  1. 4. Household Economies
  2. pp. 46-61
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  1. 5. Plantation Work
  2. pp. 62-80
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  1. 6. Women and the Slave Family
  2. pp. 81-99
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  1. 7. Fertility
  2. pp. 100-118
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  1. 8. Fecundity
  2. pp. 119-143
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  1. 9. Sex, Punishment, and Protest
  2. pp. 144-157
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  1. 10. Conclusions
  2. pp. 158-166
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 167-182
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  1. References
  2. pp. 183-196
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 197-202
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780700631148
Related ISBN(s)
9780700603947
MARC Record
OCLC
1252623439
Pages
218
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-25
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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