1st Edition

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

ISBN 9780367458003
Published April 28, 2020 by Routledge
306 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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

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