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Book Cover
Author Paugh, Katherine, author

Title The politics of reproduction : race, disease, and fertility in the age of abolition / Katherine Paugh
Edition First edition
Published Oxford ; New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2017
Online access available from:
Oxford Scholarship Online    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (263 pages) : illustrations
Series Past & present book series
Past & present book series
Contents "The old settlers have bred a great quantity of slaves": slavery, reproduction, and revolution, 1763-97 -- The curious case of Mary Hylas: wives, slaves, and the limits of British abolitionism -- Conceiving fertility in the age of abolition: slavery, sexuality, and the politics of medical knowledge -- A West Indian midwife's tale: the politics of childbirth on Newton Plantation -- "An increasing capital in an increasing gang": governing reproduction, 1798-1838 -- Missionaries, madams, and mothers in Barbados
Summary "Many British politicians, planters, and doctors attempted to exploit the fertility of Afro-Caribbean women's bodies in order to ensure the economic success of the British Empire during the age of abolition. Abolitionist reformers hoped that a homegrown labor force would end the need for the Atlantic slave trade. By establishing the ubiquity of visions of fertility and subsequent economic growth during this time, The Politics of Reproduction sheds fresh light on the oft-debated question of whether abolitionism was understood by contemporaries as economically beneficial to the plantation colonies. At the same time, Katherine Paugh makes novel assertions about the importance of Britain's Caribbean colonies in the emergence of population as a political problem. The need to manipulate the labor market on Caribbean plantations led to the creation of new governmental strategies for managing sex and childbearing, such as centralized nurseries, discouragement of extended breastfeeding, and financial incentives for childbearing, that have become commonplace in our modern world. While assessing the politics of reproduction in the British Empire and its Caribbean colonies in relationship to major political events such as the Haitian Revolution, the study also focuses in on the island of Barbados. The remarkable story of an enslaved midwife and her family illustrates how plantation management policies designed to promote fertility affected Afro-Caribbean women during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Politics of Reproduction draws on a wide variety of sources, including debates in the British Parliament and the Barbados House of Assembly, the records of Barbadian plantations, tracts about plantation management published by doctors and plantation owners, and missionary records related to the island of Barbados."--
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Fertility
Women -- history
African Continental Ancestry Group -- history
Colonialism -- history
Enslavement -- ethics
History, 18th Century
History, 19th Century
Reproductive Behavior -- ethnology
Labor demand -- Caribbean Area -- History
Slavery -- Caribbean Area -- 18th century
Women, Black -- Caribbean Area -- History -- 18th century
Women, Black -- Caribbean Area -- History -- 19th century
British colonies.
Labor demand.
Women, Black.
Great Britain -- Colonies -- Population -- History
Caribbean Region -- ethnology
United Kingdom
Caribbean Area.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0191831476 (electronic bk.)
9780191831478 (electronic bk.)