Assumed Identities: The Meanings of Race in the Atlantic World

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2011-11-04 21:36Z by Steven

Assumed Identities: The Meanings of Race in the Atlantic World

Texas A&M University Press
168 pages
6 x 9, Illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-60344-192-6

Edited by:

John D. Garrigus, Associate Professor of History
University of Texas, Austin

Christopher Morris, Associate Professor of History
University of Texas, Austin

With the recent election of the nation’s first African American president—an individual of blended Kenyan and American heritage who spent his formative years in Hawaii and Indonesia—the topic of transnational identity is reaching the forefront of the national consciousness in an unprecedented way. As our society becomes increasingly diverse and intermingled, it is increasingly imperative to understand how race and heritage impact our perceptions of and interactions with each other. Assumed Identities constitutes an important step in this direction.

However, “identity is a slippery concept,” say the editors of this instructive volume. This is nowhere more true than in the melting pot of the early trans-Atlantic cultures formed in the colonial New World during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. As the studies in this volume show, during this period in the trans-Atlantic world individuals and groups fashioned their identities but also had identities ascribed to them by surrounding societies. The historians who have contributed to this volume investigate these processes of multiple identity formation, as well as contemporary understandings of them.

Originating in the 2007 Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures presented at the University of Texas at Arlington, Assumed Identities: The Meanings of Race in the Atlantic World examines, among other topics, perceptions of racial identity in the Chesapeake community, in Brazil, and in Saint-Domingue (colonial-era Haiti). As the contributors demonstrate, the cultures in which these studies are sited helped define the subjects’ self-perceptions and the ways others related to them.

Table of Contents

  • Preface and Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Race and Identity in the New World; Franklin W. Knight
  • “Thy Coming Fame, Ogé! Is Sure”: New Evidence on Ogé’s 1790 Revolt and the Beginnings of the Haitian Revolution; John D. Garrigus
  • “The Child Should Be Made a Christian”: Baptism, Race, and Identity in the Seventeenth-century Chesapeake; Rebecca Goetz
  • West Indian Identity in the Eighteenth Century; Trevor Burnard
  • Illegal Enslavement and the Precariousness of Freedom in Nineteenth-century Brazil; Sidney Chalhoub
  • Rosalie of the Poulard Nation: Freedom, Law, and Dignity in the Era of the Haitian Revolution; Rebecca J. Scott and Jean M. Hébrard
  • In Memoriam, Evan Anders
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States, Women on 2011-11-04 20:46Z by Steven

Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation

Harvard University Press
February 2012
288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
17 halftones, 1 line illustration, 1 map
Hardcover ISBN 9780674047747

Rebecca J. Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law
University of Michigan

Jean M. Hébrard, Historian and Visiting Professor
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris)
University of Michigan

Around 1785, a woman was taken from her home in Senegambia and sent to Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean. Those who enslaved her there named her Rosalie. Her later efforts to escape slavery were the beginning of a family’s quest, across five generations and three continents, for lives of dignity and equality. Freedom Papers sets the saga of Rosalie and her descendants against the background of three great antiracist struggles of the nineteenth century: the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution of 1848, and the Civil War and Reconstruction in the United States.

Freed during the Haitian Revolution, Rosalie and her daughter Elisabeth fled to Cuba in 1803. A few years later, Elisabeth departed for New Orleans, where she married a carpenter, Jacques Tinchant. In the 1830s, with tension rising against free persons of color, they left for France. Subsequent generations of Tinchants fought in the Union Army, argued for equal rights at Louisiana’s state constitutional convention, and created a transatlantic tobacco network that turned their Creole past into a commercial asset. Yet the fragility of freedom and security became clear when, a century later, Rosalie’s great-great-granddaughter Marie-José was arrested by Nazi forces occupying Belgium.

Freedom Papers follows the Tinchants as each generation tries to use the power and legitimacy of documents to help secure freedom and respect. The strategies they used to overcome the constraints of slavery, war, and colonialism suggest the contours of the lives of people of color across the Atlantic world during this turbulent epoch.

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