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Karin Wulf, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=RA-50076-09
“Gendered Language and the Science of Colonial Silk” (Article)
Title: “Gendered Language and the Science of Colonial Silk”
Author: Allison Bigelow
Abstract: In May 1652, Virginia Ferrar conducted an experiment in her family garden at Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire, to determine the optimal growing conditions for silkworms. Her father carefully chronicled her methods and results in a letter that he sent to Samuel Hartlib, a Polish émigré and educational reformer who published the letter as the Rare and New Discovery of a Speedy Way, … Found Out by a Young Lady in England, … for the feeding of Silk-worms … on the Mulberry-Tree Leaves in Virginia. The religioscientific paradox of a cultivated commodity whose lowly origins could assume such heights of value—these were emblematic insects whose foul excretions were spun into sensuous silks—appealed to mid-seventeenth-century reformers who sought to refashion the nature of English empire at the height of Oliver Cromwell’s western design. For these writers, some of whom supported the Stuart monarchy, some of whom were aligned with the Protectorate, and most of whom were members of Hartlib’s loosely organized network of correspondents, silk represented the type of material good and spiritual symbol that both sides thought suitable in the reformation of English colonialism.
Periodical Title: Early American Literature
“Emerging from the Shadows: New Developments in the History of Interracial Sex and Intermarriage in Colonial North America and the Caribbean” (Article)
Title: “Emerging from the Shadows: New Developments in the History of Interracial Sex and Intermarriage in Colonial North America and the Caribbean”
Author: Daniel Livesay
Abstract: This article analyzes recent historical scholarship on cross-racial pairings in colonial North America and the Caribbean. The degree of tolerance for these matches, as well as the accommodation of the mixed-race children born from them, illuminates the contours and experiences of racial prejudice in this period. For many years scholars believed this to be primarily a phenomenon in Iberian colonies, and occasionally the French, with much work focusing on pairings between indigenous and European populations. However, recent scholarship has shown a greater degree of racial mixture in both the British and French colonies than once thought, even between African-descended and European groups. This is especially true when the Caribbean is added to considerations of colonial attitudes. These developments open new doors into historical understandings of colonial race relations, slavery, and family compositions.
Periodical Title: History Compass
“African Slavery and Spanish Empire: Imperial Imaginings and Bourbon Reform in Eighteenth-century Cuba and Beyond” (Article)
Title: “African Slavery and Spanish Empire: Imperial Imaginings and Bourbon Reform in Eighteenth-century Cuba and Beyond”
Author: Elena A. Schneider
Abstract: This article traces a philosophical shift that opened the door to a new departure in
eighteenth-century Spanish empire: a newly emerging sense that the slave trade and
African slavery were essential to the wealth of nations. Contextualizing this ideological
reconfiguration within mid-eighteenth century debates, this article draws upon the works of political economists and royal councilors in Madrid and puts them in conversation with the words and actions of individuals in and from Cuba, including people of African descent themselves. Because of the central place of the island in eighteenth-century imperial rivalry and reform, as well as its particular demographic situation, Cuba served as a catalyst for these debates about the place of African slavery and the transatlantic slave trade in Spanish empire. Ultimately, between the mid-eighteenth century and the turn of the nineteenth, this new mode of thought would lead to dramatic transformations in the institution of racial slavery and Spanish imperial political economy.
Periodical Title: Journal of Early American History