1st Edition

Creolization and Transatlantic Blackness The Visual and Material Cultures of Slavery

Edited By Charmaine A. Nelson Copyright 2025
    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    Departing from more conscribed definitions, this book argues for an expansion of the concept of ‘Creolization’ in terms of duration, temporality, population, and importantly, in regional scope, which also impact climate and the practices of slavery that are typically included and excluded from consideration.

    Eschewing the normative focus on language and music, the authors instead center art and visual, and material cultures, as both outcomes and practices, in their explorations 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.

    Most chapters in this book were originally published in African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal.

    Introduction: Expanding and complicating the concept of creolization

    Charmaine A. Nelson


    1. Blackness and lines of beauty in the eighteenth-century Anglophone Atlantic world

    Kristina Huang

    2. ‘Concatenation’: Syncretism in the Life Cycle of David Drake’s Earthenware

    Rach Klein


    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


    4. Creolization on screen: Guy Deslauriers’s The Middle Passage as Afro-Diasporic Discourse [Le passage du milieu]

    Sophie Saint-Just


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

    Matti Turner


    6. ‘The wages of empire’: American inventions of mixed-race identities and Natasha Trethewey’s Thrall (2012)

    Eloisa Valenzuela-Mendoza


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

    Lesley Wolff


    Charmaine A. Nelson is a Provost Professor of Art History in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. She is also the Director of the Slavery North Initiative which focuses on the study of Transatlantic Slavery in Canada and the US North. Nelson has made ground-breaking contributions to the fields of the Visual Culture of Slavery, Race and Representation, and Black Canadian Studies. She has published seven books including The Color of Stone: Sculpting the Black Female Subject in Nineteenth-Century America (2007), Slavery, Geography, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica (2016), and Towards an African Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance (2018).