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Frontiers of servitudeSlavery in narratives of the early French Atlantic$
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Michael Harrigan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526122261

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526122261.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

Tensions, order, and the body

Tensions, order, and the body

Chapter:
(p.237) 5 Tensions, order, and the body
Source:
Frontiers of servitude
Author(s):

Michael Harrigan

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526122261.003.0006

Colonial commentators, aware of the impossibility of dominating the consciousness of slaves, testify to the use of auxiliary strategies to circumscribe them in place or time. Forms of surveillance were essential to power, but hint at exacerbated visibility in the plantation context. A scriptural, patristic and humanistic tradition furnished precedents for the discipline of slaves, but French commentators illustrate that limits to physical violence were prescribed for diverse reasons. Concerns about plantation security centred on the proportion of slave to settler, and on the illusory relationships between slaveowners and their slaves. It is in the script, hidden from the eyes of slaves, that one can find overt avowals of the risk they were thought to pose. There were interrogations about the sexual coercion of enslaved women. Colonial-era narratives also illustrate the use of strategies to control the bodies of slaves; some of these strategies testify to moral limits to the complete possession of other human beings.

Keywords:   Surveillance, Branding, Sexual coercion, Discipline, Violence, Strategies

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