A reading list of scholarship by people of colour on slavery and colonialism, c.1500-1750

Brodie Waddell

While putting together a reading list for a new undergraduate module at Birkbeck on ‘The Early Modern World, c.1500-1750’, I decided to seek advice from the twittersphere. I was particularly annoyed that my initial list for the weeks on slavery and colonialism was overwhelmingly white.

So, with that in mind, I asked twitter for suggestions of work by people of colour and received an outstanding response:

Thank you all for such a great response! I’m not going to be able to include all of suggestions in my final module list due to danger of swamping first-year undergrads with readings, but I thought it might be helpful to share the list that I collated in case other people were putting together their own lists. I’m also very keen to hear of further suggestions.

51DBGdFEPFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I should note a few caveats. First, I had to exclude a few excellent suggestions even from my long list as they were focused primarily on the post-1750 period, which is covered by another module. Second, there were a few publications that I don’t have access to, so I put them on a separate list too. Third, there may be errors, so let me know if I’ve miscategorised anyone. Fourth, I know that people of colour write great scholarship about all sorts of history other than colonialism and slavery, but I thought this would be a good topic to start with given the particularly egregious nature of my initial list. Finally, I’m very aware that this list is incomplete. I’d welcome the chance to update it, so please comment below with your own ideas!

Update: In 2015, Kim F. Hall and Hannah Ehrenberg created an annotated bibliography of Early Modern Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies which is crowdsourced and continually updated. We highly recommend it!

Reading list of people of colour on the history of colonialism and slavery, c.1500-1750

Adams-Campbell, Melissa; Ashley Glassburn Falzetti and Courtney Rivard, ‘Indigeneity and the Work of Settler Archives’, Settler Colonial Studies, 5:2 (2015), pp. 109-116 [open access: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2014.957256%5D

Beckles, Hilary. A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Caribbean Single Market (2nd edn, 2006), ch. 1-4

Beckles, Hilary. White Servitude and Black Slavery in Barbados, 1627-1715 (1989)

Beckles, Hilary, and Verene A. Shepard. Liberties Lost: The Indigenous Caribbean and Slave Systems (2004)

Bennett, Herman. Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (2009)

Bennett, Herman. Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570-1640 (2003)

Bentley, Bently; Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (eds.), The Cambridge World History: Volume 6, The construction of a global world, 1400-1800 CE. Part 1, Foundations (2015), chapters by Kaoru Sugihara, R. Bin Wong, and R. Po-Chia Hsia and Sanjay Subrahmanyam

Bryant, Sherwin K. Rivers of Gold, Lives of Bondage: Governing through Slavery in Colonial Quito (2014)

Bryant, Sherwin K. ‘Finding Gold, Forming Slavery: The Creation of a Classic Slave Society, Popayan, 1600-1700’, The Americas, 61:1 (2006)

Bryant, Sherwin K. ‘Enslaved Rebels, Fugitives, and Litigants: The Resistance Continuum in Colonial Quito,’ Colonial Latin American Review, 13:1 (2004), pp. 7-46

Bryant, Sherwin K., Rachel Sarah O’Toole and Ben Vinson III (eds), Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora (2012)

Burnard, Trevor, and Gad Heuman (eds). The Routledge History of Slavery (2010), chapters by Jennifer Morgan and Christopher Brown

Chakravarti, Ananya. ‘Mapping ‘Gabriel’: Space, Identity and Slavery in the Late Sixteenth-Century Indian Ocean’, Past & Present, 243 (May 2019)

Conolly, Brian; and Marisa Fuentes (eds), ‘From Archives of Slavery to Liberated Futures’, History of the Present, 6:2 (2016) http://historyofthepresent.org/6.2/index.html

Eltis, David, and Stanley Engerman (eds). The Cambridge World History of Slavery: Volume 3, AD 1420-AD 1804 (2011), chapters by Rudolph T. Ware, G. Ugo Nwokeji, Roquinaldo Ferreira, and Joseph E. Inikori

Falola, Toyin, and Kevin D. Roberts (eds), The Atlantic World, 1450-2000 (2008)

Falzetti, Ashley. ‘Archiving Absence: the Burden of History’, Settler Colonial Studies, 5:2 (2015)

Ferreira, Roquinaldo. Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil during the Era of the Slave Trade (2012)

Fuentes, Marisa J. Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence and the Archive (2016)

Gaspar, Barry. ‘’Subjects to the King of Portugal’: Captivity and Repatriation in the Slave Trade to Antigua, 1724’, in C. Shammas and E. Mancke (eds), The Creation of the British Atlantic World (2005)

Gaspar, Barry. ‘’Rigid and Inclement’: Origins of the Jamaica Slave Laws of the Seventeenth Century’ in C. Tomlins and B. Mann (eds), The Many Legalities of Early America (2001)

Grier, Miles P. ‘Staging the Cherokee Othello: An Imperial Economy of Indian Watching’, William Mary Quarterly, 73:1 (2016)

Grier, Miles P. ‘Inkface: The Slave Stigma in England’s Early Imperial Imagination’, in Vincent L. Wimbush (ed), Scripturalizing the Human: The Written as the Political (2015), pp. 193-220

Harris, Leslie. In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 (2002), ch. 1 (‘Slavery in Colonial New York’)

Hartman, Saidiya. Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2006)

Hartman, Saidiya. ‘Venus in Two Acts’, Small Axe, 28 (2008), pp. 1-14

Inikori, Joseph; and Stanley Engerman (eds), The Atlantic Slave Trade: Effects on Economies, Societies and Peoples in Africa, the Americas, and Europe (1992), chapter by David Barry Gaspar

Lamotte, Mélanie. ‘Colour Prejudice in the Early Modern French Atlantic World’, in D’Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonard and William O’Reilly (eds), The Atlantic World (2014), pp. 151-171

Littlefield, Daniel C. Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina (1991)

Littlefield, Daniel C. ‘Colonial and Revolutionary United States’ in Robert Paquette and Mark M. Smith (eds), The Oxford handbook of slavery in the Americas (2010)

McKinley, Michelle. ‘Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Legal Activism & Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593-1700’, Law and History Review, 28:3 (2010), pp. 749-90

McKinley, Michelle. ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Testamentary Manumission in Seventeenth-Century Lima’, Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post Slave Studies, 33: 3 (2012), pp. 381-401

Mishra, Rupali. A Business of State: Commerce, Politics, and the Birth of the East India Company (2018)

Morgan, Jennifer L. ‘‘Some Could Suckle Over Their Shoulder’: Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology, 1500-1770’, William and Mary Quarterly, 51:1 (1997), pp. 167-92.

Morgan, Jennifer L. Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (2004)

Mustakeem, Sowande’. ‘’I Never Have Such A Sickly Ship Before’: Diet, Disease, and Mortality in 18th-Century Atlantic Slaving Voyages’, Journal of African American History, 93:4 (2008), pp. 474-496

Seijas, Tatiana. Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians (2014)

Seijas, Tatiana. ‘The Portuguese Slave Trade to Spanish Manila: 1580–1640’, Itinerario, 32:1 (2008), pp. 19-38

Seijas, Tatiana, and Pablo Sierra. ‘The Persistence of the slave market in seventeenth-century Central Mexico’, Slavery & Abolition, 37:2 (2016), pp. 307-333

Shepard, Verene; and Hilary Beckles (eds), Caribbean slavery in the Atlantic world: a student reader (2000)

Smallwood, Stephanie. Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (2007)

Warren, Wendy. ‘‘The Cause of Her Grief’: The Rape of a Slave in Early New England’, Journal of American History, 93:4 (2007), pp. 1031-1049

Vinson, Ben. Bearing Arms for His Majesty: The Free-Colored Militia in Colonial Mexico (2001)

Vinson, Ben. ‘Race and Badge: Free-Colored Soldiers in the Colonial Mexican Militia’ , The Americas, 56:4 (2000), pp. 471-496

Walker, Tamara J. ‘‘He outfitted his family in notable decency’: Slavery, Honour, and Dress in Eighteenth-Century Lima, Peru’, Slavery and Abolition, 30:3 (2009), pp. 383-402

Walker, Tamara J. Exquisite Slaves: Race, Clothing, and Status in Colonial Lima (2017)

Williams, Eric. Capitalism and Slavery (1944)

Not included (primarily post-1750 or inaccessible via my institution)

Brown, Vincent. The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (2008)

Bryson, Sasha Turner. ‘The Art of Power: Poison and Obeah Accusations and the Struggle for Dominance and Survival in Jamaica’s Slave Society’, Caribbean Studies, 41:2 (2013), pp. 61-90

Green, Sharony. https://history.ua.edu/faculty/sharony-a-green/

Greene, Sandra Elaine. http://history.cornell.edu/sandra-elaine-greene

Hicks, Mary E. https://www.amherst.edu/people/facstaff/mhicks

Johnson, Jessica Marie. ‘Death Rites as Birthrights in Atlantic New Orleans: Kinship and Race in the Case of Maria Teresa v. Perine Dauphine’, Slavery & Abolition, 36:2 (2015)

Leroy, Justin. http://history.ucdavis.edu/people/jleroy

Lowe, Lisa. The Intimacies of Four Continents (2015)

McKittrick, Katherine. ‘Mathematics Black Life’, The Black Scholar, 44:2 (2014), pp. 16-28

Mt Pleasant, Alyssa. http://transnationalstudies.buffalo.edu/people/staff/mt-pleasant/

Turner, Sasha. ‘The nameless and the forgotten: maternal grief, sacred protection, and the archive of slavery’, Slavery & Abolition, 38:2 (2017)

Turner, Sasha. Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica (2017)

Sharpe. Christina. ‘Black Studies in the Wake’, The Black Scholar, 44:2 (2014), pp. 59-69

Ze Winters, Lisa. The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic (2016)

13 thoughts on “A reading list of scholarship by people of colour on slavery and colonialism, c.1500-1750

  1. Enlightening for one who had to read Prescott (yes!) and Parry in the summer before admission for prelims paper on ‘Europe and a Wider World’. There seems to be less on first nations and encounters.

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