Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226657684 Published October 2019
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226655925 Published October 2019
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The Freedom of Speech

Talk and Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean World

Miles Ogborn

The Freedom of Speech

Miles Ogborn

336 pages | 23 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226657684 Published October 2019
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226655925 Published October 2019
E-book $10.00 to $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226657714 Published October 2019
The institution of slavery has always depended on enforcing the boundaries between slaveholders and the enslaved. As historical geographer Miles Ogborn reveals in The Freedom of Speech, across the Anglo-Caribbean world the fundamental distinction between freedom and bondage relied upon the violent policing of the spoken word. Offering a compelling new lens on transatlantic slavery, this book gathers rich historical data from Barbados, Jamaica, and Britain to delve into the complex relationships between voice, slavery, and empire. From the most quotidian encounters to formal rules of what counted as evidence in court, the battleground of slavery lay in who could speak and under what conditions. But, as Ogborn shows through keen attention to both the traces of talk and the silences in the archives, if enslavement as a legal status could be made by words, it could be unmade by them as well. A deft interrogation of the duality of domination, The Freedom of Speech offers a rich interpretation of oral cultures that both supported and constantly threatened to undermine the slave system.
Contents
Contents
 
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: With One Little Blast of Their Mouths: Speech, Humanity, and Slavery
One: On Our Bare Word: Oath Taking, Evidence Giving, and the Law
Two: The Deliberative Voice: Politics, Speech, and Liberty
Three: Master, I Can Cure You: Talking Plants in the Sugar Islands
Four: They Must Be Talked to One to One: Speaking with the Spirits
Five: They Talk about Free: Abolition, Freedom, and the Politics of Speech
Last Words
 
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Gad Heuman, emeritus, University of Warwick
“Ogborn's The Freedom of Speech brilliantly explores the cultures of orality in the Caribbean. It provides a highly original and fascinating perspective on the world of the enslaved and of the slaveholders as well as on the study of slavery more generally.”
Vincent Brown, author of Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War
“In the beginning was the word, which made all things—or at least, in Ogborn’s telling, all the most important relations of power that define modern politics. His inspired examination of the intimacies of speech, liberty, and bondage in the British Caribbean announces a vital new departure for the study of slavery, its political geography, and its legacies. This book will change the way we hear the insistent chorus of voices that echo across generations of freedom struggle.”
Catherine Hall, emerita, University College London
“How were forms of freedom and bondage made through speech? Who could speak—when, where, and how? Ogborn’s powerful and original exploration considers the many kinds of talk—whether political, legal, botanical, or spiritual—of the colonizers, the abolitionists, and the enslaved in the Anglo-Caribbean. Speech, he convincingly demonstrates, needs attention: it is one of the dialogic practices at the heart of the making, remaking, and undoing of race and slavery.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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