1st Edition

Diversity and Empires Negotiating Plurality in European Imperial Projects from Early Modernity

Edited By Sophie Rose, Elisabeth Heijmans Copyright 2023
    254 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Examining diversity as a fundamental reality of empire, this book explores European colonial empires, both terrestrial and maritime, to show how they addressed the questions of how to manage diversity.

    These questions range from the local to the supra-regional, and from the management of people to that of political and judicial systems. Taking an intersectional approach incorporating categories such as race, religion, subjecthood, and social and legal status, the contributions of the volume show how old and new modes of creating social difference took shape in an increasingly globalized early modern world, and what contemporary legacies these ‘diversity formations’ left behind. This volume shows diversity and imperial projects to be both contentious and mutually constitutive: on the one hand, the conditions of empire created divisions between people through official categorizations (such as racial classifications and designations of subjecthood) and through discriminately applied extractive policies, from taxation to slavery. On the other hand, imperial subjects, communities, and polities within and adjacent to the empire asserted themselves through a diverse range of affiliations and identities that challenged any notion of a unilateral, universal imperial authority.

    This book highlights the multidimensionality and interconnectedness of diversity in imperial settings and will be useful reading to students and scholars of the history of colonial empires, global history, and race.



    Part 1: Religion and the negotiation of belonging


    Chapter 1. Old and New Members: Religious and Civic Conversion in the Iberian Worlds

    Tamar Herzog, Harvard University


    Chapter 2. In and beyond the Portuguese Empire: Coping with marriage ritual diversity in early modern Goa

    Ângela Barreto Xavier, University of Lisbon


    Chapter 3. Barrido: A thief, Christian and Pulaya. The implications of categorization on the eighteenth century Malabar coast

    Alexander Geelen, International Institute of Social History

    Part 2: Slavery and legal status


    Chapter 4. The uses and management of Indigenous, African and mixed-raced identities in the legal sphere in Portuguese Amazonia (18th century)

    André Luís Ferreira, Federal University of Pará


    Chapter 5. Experiences of enslaved persons with criminal justice and social control on Curaçao, 1730-1740

    Stef Vink, Leiden University


    Chapter 6. Indigenous populations and labor in the Dutch colonial empire – the example of the Cape and the Guianas

    Rafaël Thiebaut, Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac

    Part 3: Subjecthood and imperial states


    Chapter 7. Making Peace Beyond the Line: Capitulations, Interpolity Law, and Political Pluralism in Suriname and New Netherland, 1664-1675

    Timo McGregor, London School of Economics


    Chapter 8. Imperfect Strangers: Frenchmen, foreigners and illegality in 18th-century Guadeloupe

    Tessa de Boer, Leiden University

    Part 4: Diversity in theory and practice: a longue durée perspective


    Chapter 9. Colonial Segregation, Apartheid State and Rainbow Nation: Negotiating Diversity in Twentieth-Century South Africa

    Margret Frenz, St. Cross College, Oxford 

    Chapter 10. Diversity as a fact of imperial life: Diversity as a fact of imperial life: a long-term view on Russia

    Jane Burbank, New York University


    Elisabeth Heijmans (University of Antwerp) is an economic and social historian of French and Dutch early modern colonialism and colonial trade. She is the author of the 2020 monograph The Agency of Empire : Connections and Strategies in French Overseas Expansion (1686-1746) and has published in English, French, and Dutch.

    Sophie Rose is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Duisburg-Essen with an interest in the colonial Dutch Caribbean, global history, and the history of morality. She is currently adapting her PhD dissertation, Regulating Relations: Controlling Sex and Marriage in the Early Modern Dutch Empire, into a book.