Women and Slavery in the French Antilles, 1635-1848-Bernard Moitt

  • Title: Women and Slavery in the French Antilles, 1635-1848
  • Author: Bernard Moitt
  • Released: 2001-11-14
  • Language:
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN: 0253214521
  • ISBN13: 978-0253214522
  • ASIN: 0253214521

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Review

Slavery lasted a little over two centuries in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), and French Guiana, the former French Caribbean colonies. This study of enslaved women and gender treats all four territories from 1635 to 1848. Moitt (history, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) synthesized materials from many fragmentary primary and secondary sources. His topical range includes domestic, field, and other forms of labor; reproduction; family life; slave women and the law; discipline and sexual exploitation; manumission; and forms of resistance. Although he treats the four territories as a unit, they were and are different in important respects. Furthermore, labor, economic, and productive systems did not remain unchanged over two centuries. French Guiana, for example, was a distinctly different place from Saint-Domingue, and in all Caribbean territories the 17th century, which saw the beginning of plantation systems, was different from the early 19th century, when they were in decline. Moitt conflates time and place in order to generalize. The scattered and difficult nature of his sources makes that procedure understandable, especially since studies of gender in slavery in the individual territories are almost nonexistent. Perhaps this study heralds more periodized and focused research. For Caribbean and slavery collections, upper-division undergraduate and above. —R. BerleanSchiller, emerita, University of Connecticut, 2002jun CHOICE.

(Schiller, emerita, University of Connecticut, 2002jun CHOICE.)

About the Author

Bernard Moitt is an assistant professor in the History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Previously, he taught at the University of Toronto and at Utica College of Syracuse University. Educated in Antigua (where he was born) and in Canada and the United States, he has published numerous articles and book chapters on aspects of francophone African and Caribbean history, with particular emphasis on gender and slavery.

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