Caribbean Exchanges: Slavery and the Transformation of English Society, 1640-1700 / Edition 1

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English colonial expansion in the Caribbean was more than a matter of migration and trade. It was also a source of social and cultural change within England. Finding evidence of cultural exchange between England and the Caribbean as early as the seventeenth century, Susan Dwyer Amussen uncovers the learned practice of slaveholding.

As English colonists in the Caribbean quickly became large-scale slaveholders, they established new organizations of labor, new uses of authority, new laws, and new modes of violence, punishment, and repression in order to manage slaves. Concentrating on Barbados and Jamaica, England's two most important colonies, Amussen looks at cultural exports that affected the development of race, gender, labor, and class as categories of legal and social identity in England. Concepts of law and punishment in the Caribbean provided a model for expanded definitions of crime in England; the organization of sugar factories served as a model for early industrialization; and the construction of the "white woman" in the Caribbean contributed to changing notions of "ladyhood" in England. As Amussen demonstrates, the cultural changes necessary for settling the Caribbean became an important, though uncounted, colonial export.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An excellent and detailed account of how English settlers adapted familiar ideas and expectations to Caribbean realities. . . . An important analysis.--Journal of British Studies

Adds to the familiar picture. . . . Excellent book.--The Journal of American History

From the Publisher
"Amussen shows that traveling a well-worn path in a new way can lead to startling surprises. . . . One of the strengths of the book is its multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the 17th-century English Caribbean."—Terrae Incognitae

"Amussen successfully reconstructs the seventeenth-century English Atlantic experience from a novel perspective as she documents transatlantic social influences."—The Historian

"A thoughtful, imaginative, well-constructed book that will be debated widely by historians of England and the British Empire."—Journal of Modern History

"[An] engaging study. . . . Amussen's rendition of life in seventeenth-century Jamaica and Barbados is focused, significantly detailed, and apt."—Clio

"Provides a valuable cultural perspective on early colonization projects . . . complements and extends the existing historical literature."—American Historical Review

"Should be required reading in any undergraduate course focusing on Stuart England, and for historians and others interested in exploring the Atlantic world of the 17th century."—The Journal of African American History

"Adds to the familiar picture. . . . Excellent book."—The Journal of American History

"[A] well-written book. . . . Well done and informative. . . . An important contribution to the growing literature on the 17th-century English Atlantic World."—Choice

"A lucidly organized and gracefully written work which builds effectively upon the insights of previous scholars."—Reviews in History

"Fresh and insightful. . . . Offers a compelling account of how English involvement in colonial plantations had deep-seated and far-reaching implications for England itself."—Canadian Journal of History
"An excellent and detailed account of how English settlers adapted familiar ideas and expectations to Caribbean realities. . . . An important analysis."—Journal of British Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858547
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 605,954
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Dwyer Amussen is professor of interdisciplinary studies at the Graduate College of the Union Institute and University. She is author or editor of three books, including An Ordered Society: Gender and Class in Early Modern England.
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Table of Contents


Introduction. The English Caribbean and Caribbean England
Chapter 1. Trade and Settlement: England and the World in the Seventeenth Century
Chapter 2. Islands of Difference: Crossing the Atlantic, Experiencing the West Indies
Chapter 3. "A happy and innocent way of thriving": Planting Sugar, Building a Society
Chapter 4. "Right English Government": Law and Liberty, Service and Slavery
0 Chapter 5. "Due Order and Subjection": Hierarchy, Resistance, and Repression
Chapter 6. "If her son is living with you she sends her love": The Caribbean in England, 1650-1700
Epilogue. Race, Gender, and Class Crossing the English Atlantic

A section of illustrations

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