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Tyler Dunsdon Parry
California State University, Fullerton (Fullerton, CA 92831-3599)
Slave Matrimony in the African Diaspora during the 18th and 19th Centuries

Completion of a history of marriage in slave communities in the Anglophone Atlantic during the 18th and 19th centuries.

"Bound in Bondage" interrogates how slave marital practices intersected with legislation, cultural practice, and political discourse in the United States and British West Indies throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. While past analyses have addressed the social, cultural, and legal dimensions of slave matrimony in specific regions, I contend that slave marriage was imbedded within transatlantic discourses that influenced the cultural and political maneuvers of both black and white people throughout the British Atlantic. My project reveals how African-descended peoples reckoned with the circumstances of slavery by creatively re-imagining various marital traditions in each Anglophone slave society. As this institution was a central factor in formulating kinship alliances throughout Western Africa, I examine how enslaved people used various marital patterns and practices to overcome the “social death” commonly associated with slavery in the Americas.

Project fields:
African American History; African History; U.S. History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 4/30/2018