The Material Cultures of Slavery and Abolition

This is the introduction to a special issue of the journal Slavery and Abolition, which gathered together articles by historians and archaeologists seeking to shed new light on the system of slavery, and on the processes of abolition and emancipation, in the British Caribbean. This work, some of it based on archaeological field work, some of it on the reading of texts, enables us to pay close attention to the complex fabric of daily existence during slavery. The politics of slavery and abolition related to the most mundane but essential parts of daily life. Taking a material approach allows us to connect this to wider transatlantic, imperial and global themes. This article argues that we can only really study the politics of slavery if we accept that the meanings attached to objects and to physical locations were of fundamental importance to the institution as it was lived by its perpetrators and victims. Click here

Full text of accepted manuscript: Petley and Lenik – Introduction