Material things mattered immensely to those who engaged in daily struggles over the character and future of slavery and to those who subsequently contested the meanings of freedom in the post-emancipation Caribbean. Throughout the history of slavery, objects and places were significant to different groups of people, from the opulent master class to enslaved field hands as well as to other groups, including maroons, free people of colour and missionaries, all of who shared the lived environments of Caribbean plantation colonies. By exploring the rich material world inhabited by these people, this book offers new ways of seeing history from below, of linking localised experiences with global transformations and connecting deeply personal lived realities with larger epochal events that defined the history of slavery and its abolition in the British Caribbean.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Slavery & Abolition.
Introduction: The Material Cultures of Slavery and Abolition in the British Caribbean; Section I – Planters, workers and the development of plantation space; 1. The Archaeology of Settler Farms and Early Plantation Life in Seventeenth-Century Barbados 2. Blurring Disciplinary Boundaries: The Material Culture of Improvement during the Age of Abolition in Barbados 3. Plantations and Homes: The Material Culture of the Early Nineteenth-Century Jamaican Elite; Section II – Material inequalities and practices inside enslaved communities; 4. The ‘Better Sort’ and the ‘Poorer Sort’: Wealth Inequalities, Family Formation and the Economy of Energy on British Caribbean Sugar Plantations, 1750–1800 5. Death and Burial at Marshall’s Pen, a Jamaican Coffee Plantation, 1814–1839: Examining the End of Life at the End of Slavery; Section III – The uses and meanings of material culture between slavery and freedom; 6. Unsettled Houses: The Material Culture of the Missionary Project in Jamaica in the Era of Emancipation 7. Plantation Labourer Rebellions, Material Culture and Events: Historical Archaeology at Geneva Estate, Grand Bay, Commonwealth of Dominica 8. Afterword: Survival and Silence in the Material Record of Slavery and Abolition