Captives as Commodities: The Transatlantic Slave Trade

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9780131942158: Captives as Commodities: The Transatlantic Slave Trade
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Part of Prentice Hall's Connection: Key Themes in World History series.

 

Written based on the author's annual course on slave trade, Captives as Commodities examines three key themes:  1) the African context surrounding the Atlantic slave trade,  2)  the history of the slave trade itself, and 3) the changing meaning of race and racism.  The author draws recent scholarship to provide students with an understanding of Atlantic slave trade.

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This book centers on one of the most tragic, horrifying, and important pieces of the history of the Western world: the transatlantic slave trade.  Unlike any other system of commerce in world history, the primary commodities exchanged in the slave trade were people, and this fact has implications not only for how the trade was initiated, conducted, conceptualized, and concluded, but also for how we make sense of it in the present.  For on one hand, the Atlantic slave trade was indeed trade, and as such it bears comparison with and was related to the expansion of a variety of global commercial networks.  On the other hand, unlike other commodities driving cross-cultural exchange in world history, slaves were human, with all this implies about their vulnerability to pain and discomfort, their capacity to resist, their real or potential relationships with sellers and buyers, and--most fundamentally to those sellers and buyers--their labor power.  Understanding the Atlantic slave trade thus requires studying economic and political history, dealing largely with those who bought and sold slaves, as well as the social and cultural history of slavers, the enslaved, and the societies they lived in and built. 

About the Author:

Lisa A. Lindsay holds a Ph.D. in African history from University of Michigan and teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Before developing her scholarship on the slave trade, she published Working with Gender: Wage Labor and Social Change in Southwestern Nigeria, Men and Masculinities in Modern Africa (co-edited with Stephen F. Miescher), and scholarly articles on colonial Nigeria.  She has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Socities, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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