1st Edition

Cultural Economies of the Atlantic World Objects and Capital in the Transatlantic Imagination

Edited By Victoria Barnett-Woods Copyright 2020
    306 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Cultural Economies explores the dynamic intersection of material culture and transatlantic formations of "capital" in the long eighteenth century. It brings together two cutting-edge fields of inquiry—Material Studies and Atlantic Studies—into a generative collection of essays that investigate nuanced ways that capital, material culture, and differing transatlantic ideologies intersected. This ambitious, provocative work provides new interpretive critiques and methodological approaches to understanding both the material and the abstract relationships between humans and objects, including the objectification of humans, in the larger current conversation about capitalism and inevitably power, in the Atlantic world. Chronologically bracketed by events in the long-eighteenth century circum-Atlantic, these essays employ material case studies from littoral African states, to abolitionist North America, to Caribbean slavery, to medicinal practice in South America, providing both broad coverage and nuanced interpretation. Holistically, Cultural Economies demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Atlantic world of capital and materiality was intimately connected to both large and small networks that inform the hemispheric and transatlantic geopolitics of capital and nation of the present day.


    Victoria Barnett-Woods

    Part I: Capitalized Bodies and the Imperial Imagination

    1. "Venereal Distemper": Illicit Trade and Contagious Disease in the Journals of Captain James Cook

    Lisa Vandenbossche

    2. Creolizing the Gothic Narrative: The Politics of Witchcraft, Gender and "Black" Magic in Charlotte Smith’s The Story of Henrietta

    Orianne Smith

    3. Black Medical Practitioners and Knowledge as Cultural Capital in the Greater Caribbean

    Chelsea Berry

    Part II: Representation and Power in the Contact Zone

    4. Materializing the Immaterial: Creating Capital in a Mirrored Mirage

    Leah M. Thomas

    5. Reading African Material Culture in the Contact Zone: Willem Bosman’s New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea

    Rebekah Mitsein

    6. Fetishes and the Fetishized: Material Culture and Obeah in the British Caribbean

    Victoria Barnett-Woods

    Part III: Consuming Cultures in the Colonial Atlantic

    7. Maple: The Sugar of Abolitionist Aspirations

    Barry L. Stiefel

    8. Chocolate and the Atlantic Economy: Circuits of Trade and Knowledge

    Christopher Magra

    Part IV: Labor and Identity in Early American Probates

    9. "The Only Property I Could Dispose of to Any Advantage": Textiles as Mediators in Early Irish Louisiana

    Kristin Condotta Lee

    10. Institutionalizing the Slave Power at the Local Level: Deferential Care of Slaveholding Estates in Eighteenth-Century York County, Virginia

    Wendy Lucas and Kelly Houston Jones

    Part V: Capital Networks, Capital Control

    11. Conveyance and Commodity: The Ordinary Merchant Ship in the British Atlantic, 1600–1800

    Phillip Reid

    12. "Unless Speedily Relieved from Old or New England, the Commoner Sort of People and the Slaves Must Starve": The Changing Nature and Networks of the Barbadian Import and Trade, 1680-1700

    Ryan McGuinness


    Victoria Barnett-Woods is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola University Maryland.