Thursday, November 8, 2007
Penningroth on The Claims of Slaves and Ex-Slaves to Family and Property: A Transatlantic Comparison
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
Dylan C. Penningroth, Northwestern University, has a new article, The Claims of Slaves and Ex-Slaves to Family and Property: A Transatlantic Comparison in the October 2007 issue of the American Historical Review. The editor describes the article this way: In “The Claims of Slaves and Ex-Slaves to Family and Property: A Transatlantic Comparison,” Dylan C. Penningroth offers a comparison between the U.S. South and the southern Gold Coast in the nineteenth century. His focus is on the claims to property and family by slaves and former slaves in these two societies. His study is intended to be suggestive rather than definitive, but he presents it as an experiment in comparative history, bringing together two regions and two slaveholding cultures that are rarely considered together. In significant ways, he finds, the histories of both regions were shaped by debates over claims made by slaves and their descendants to kinship and the products of their labor. Those debates drew upon and, in turn, influenced understandings of property, slavery, and social identity for all people, not only slaves, leaving a legacy for the twentieth century.