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Creolization and Transatlantic Blackness: The Visual and Material Cultures of Slavery


Creolization and Transatlantic Blackness: The Visual and Material Cultures of Slavery explores one of the central concepts in the study of Transatlantic Slavery, creolization. Creolization defines the cultural, political, and social transformations that occurred in the Americas when Europeans interacted with enslaved Africans. But for the enslaved, creolization was also defined by deprivation, surveillance, control, and prohibitions. Departing from more conscribed definitions, the authors instead argue for an expansion of the term regarding duration, temporality, population, and importantly, regional scope. This rethinking impacts considerations of climate and the practices of slavery that are typically included and excluded from the study of creolization.

Eschewing the normative focus on language and music, the authors instead center art and visual, and material cultures, as both outcomes and practices, to consider the ways that cultural production in the period of slavery and its aftermath was irrevocably impacted by the collision of races and cultures in the Americas. The chapters probe how creolization unfolded for differently constituted individuals and populations, as well as how it came to be articulated both in the historical moments of its enactment and its retroactive cultural representations and production. In so doing, they seek to both expand the terrain (literally and figuratively) of the definition of creolization and to turn towards an examination of its relevance for art and visual, and material cultures of the Transatlantic world.


Table of Contents

Charmaine A. Nelson, Editor

Introduction: Expanding and complicating the concept of creolization
Charmaine A. Nelson

Chapter 1: Blackness and lines of beauty in the eighteenth-century Anglophone Atlantic world
Kristina Huang

Chapter 2: Concatenation”: Syncretism in the Life Cycle of David Drake’s Earthenware
Rach Klein

Chapter 3: “[A] tone of voice peculiar to New-England”: Fugitive Slave Advertisements and the Heterogeneity of Enslaved People of African Descent in Eighteenth-Century Quebec
Charmaine A. Nelson

Chapter 4: Creolization on screen: Guy Deslauriers’s The Middle Passage as Afro-Diasporic Discourse
Sophie Saint-Just

Chapter 5: Baskets of rice: creolization and material culture from West Africa to South Carolina’s Lowcountry
Matti Turner

Chapter 6: “The wages of empire”: American inventions of mixed-race identities and Natasha Trethewey’s Thrall (2012)
Eloisa Valenzuela-Mendoza

Chapter 7:  From raw to refined: Edouard Duval-Carrié’s Sugar Conventions (2013)
Lesley Wolff


Forthcoming from Routledge in 2024


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