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Grant number: FB-58165-15

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Sean Doyle Moore
University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH 03824-2620)

Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries: British Literature, Political Thought, and the Transatlantic Book Trade

Early American libraries stood at the nexus of two transatlantic branches of commerce--the book trade and the slave trade. This NEH Fellowship project bridges the study of these trades by demonstrating how Americans' profits from slavery were reinvested in imported British books and providing evidence that the colonial book market was shaped, in part, by the demand of slave owners for metropolitan cultural capital. In doing so, it merges the fields of the history of the book, Atlantic studies, and the study of race, arguing that the empire-wide circulation of British books was underwritten by the labor of the African diaspora. The monograph emerging from this research, accordingly, is the first in early American and eighteenth-century British studies to fuse our growing understanding of the material culture of the transatlantic text with our awareness of slavery as an economic and philanthropic basis for the production and consumption of knowledge.

Project fields:
African American History; British History; British Literature

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 6/30/2016