Colonial Slavery : An Abridged Translation book cover
1st Edition

Colonial Slavery
An Abridged Translation

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ISBN 9780367434243
March 1, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

Jacob Gorender's (1922-2013) 1978 book, Colonial Slavery (O Escravismo Colonial), comes alive for English-language readers thanks to Bernd Reiter and Alejandro Reyes’ brilliant translation.

Gorender argued that slave-holding societies produced an economic system sui generis, not fitting into any of the established societal categories offered by Karl Marx and Max Weber. As such, Gorender proposed a theory of colonial slavery as the structuring force of slave-holding societies. For him, slave-holding societies are different from other societies in that slavery structured them differently. This is of the utmost relevance to this day as it allows for a new and different way to explain contemporary racial inequalities in post-slavery societies. An accomplished interpreter of Brazilian social formation, Gorender was motivated by the need to understand the historical roots of class domination and the emergence of Brazilian capitalist society. His presentation of rich historical data, rigorous theoretical and analytical framework, and militant action as an active member of the Brazilian Communist Party are the hallmarks of his writing.

Colonial Slavery: An Abridged Translation is a must-read for researchers, teachers, and students of history, sociology, economics, politics, as well as activists of the Black movement and other movements committed to anti-racism.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Fundamental Categories

1. Colonial Slavery – An Historically New Mode of Production

2. The Category of Slavery

3. The Plantation Form of Organization of Slave Production

Part 2: Genesis

4. Portuguese Society and Overseas Expansion

5. Original Sources of Slave Labor Force

6. Aspects of the Establishment of Slave Plantations in Brazil

Part 3: Specific Laws of the Colonial Slave Mode of Production

7. Introduction

8. Law of Money Income

9. Law of the Initial Investment to Acquire the Slave

10. Effects of the Law of Initial Investment to Acquire the Slave

11. Laws of the Rigidity of the Slave Workforce

12. Law of the Correlation between the Mercantile Economy and the Natural Economy in Slave Plantations

13. Socioeconomic Dynamics and Historiography

14. Categories Extraneous to the Concept of Colonial Slavery

15. Dualism, Integrationism, and other Interpretations of History

16. Law of the Slave Population

17. Factors Opposed to the Growth of the Slave Population

18. Territorial Regime in Slaveholding Brazil

19. Industrial Slave Rent and Slave Ground Rent

Bibliographic References

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Bernd Reiter is Professor of Classical and Modern Languages and Literature at Texas Tech University, and the editor of Routledge’s Decolonizing the Classics book series. Prior to joining academia, he worked as a social worker and NGO consultant in Brazil and in Colombia. He earned his Ph.D. in comparative politics from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and has been a visiting scholar in Germany, Brazil, Colombia, and Spain. He is recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Public Policy, Brazil 2021-2022 award. Reiter’s work focuses on race, democracy, citizenship, and decolonization. His publications include The Dialectics of Citizenship (2013), Bridging Scholarship and Activism (2014), The Crisis of Liberal Democracy and the Path Ahead (2017), and Constructing the Pluriverse (2018).

Alejandro Reyes is a writer, translator, activist, and independent journalist. He was born in Mexico City in 1963 and has lived in the United States, Brazil, and France. He has an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature by the University of California at Berkeley. He is a public speaker, with conferences on marginal literature and social movements in Mexico and Brazil. He is co-founder of the alternative media collective Radio Zapatista. He currently lives in Chiapas, Mexico.


"This is a classic of Latin American Marxist thought. Originally published in 1978, the book uses the concept of mode of production and the conceptual instruments developed in Das Kapital to understand the organization of slave labor in Brazil and to seek "laws" that explain in a more abstract way the structure and social reproduction in slavery societies of colonial America. It is perhaps the most emblematic book of Brazilian Marxism in the 1980s. An essential reading for anyone interested in the history of ideas and of Marxism in Latin America, O Escravismo Colonial continues to be revisited by Marxist authors today."

Antonio Sergio Guimarães, Professor of Sociology, Universidade de São Paulo