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Publisher's Summary

In the 18th century, Bridgetown, Barbados, was heavily populated by both enslaved and free women. Marisa J. Fuentes creates a portrait of urban Caribbean slavery in this colonial town from the perspective of these women whose stories appear only briefly in historical records. Fuentes takes us through the streets of Bridgetown with an enslaved runaway; inside a brothel run by a freed woman of color; in the midst of a white urban household in sexual chaos; to the gallows where enslaved people were executed; and within violent scenes of enslaved women's punishments. In the process, Fuentes interrogates the archive and its historical production to expose the ongoing effects of white colonial power that constrain what can be known about these women.

Combining fragmentary sources with interdisciplinary methodologies that include black feminist theory and critical studies of history and slavery, Dispossessed Lives demonstrates how the construction of the archive marked enslaved women's bodies, in life and in death. By vividly recounting enslaved life through the experiences of individual women and illuminating their conditions of confinement through the legal, sexual, and representational power wielded by slave owners, colonial authorities, and the archive, Fuentes challenges the way we write histories of vulnerable and often invisible subjects.

The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks. 

"Exemplifies the best new historical scholarship on slavery and gender." (Jennifer L. Morgan, Porfessor at New York University)

"Marisa J. Fuentes is masterful...." (Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Professor at University of Delaware)

"An important and complex work that demonstrates how historians can employ a range of interdisciplinary methodologies." (Melanie J. Newton, Associate Professor at University of Toronto)

©2016 University of Pennsylvania Press (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-04-2019


I should not have liked this but I did. The reading or writing (syntax) was poor, but the subject matter demanded my attention. The effect on me is embarrassing. I felt at times like I was part of the story and that is bad to the extreme.

The most shocking info to me was the participation of white women and the powerlessness of the victims.

3 people found this helpful

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