Capitalism and Slavery
This master class will explore the intimate links between U.S. wealth inequality and the violent racial subjugation that generated profits throughout four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade and the pre-Civil War North American plantation-industrial complex. Besides probing the symbiosis of chattel slavery and mass production, we will consider slavery’s legacy of repressing the political and economic aspirations of enslaved and free people of color, the financial implications of abolition and emancipation, and the propriety of acknowledging the lived experiences of enslaved men, women, and children in any discussions of capitalism and slavery. While the primary focus will be on the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the discussion will also consider the issue of contemporary reparations.
Christian Ayne Crouch is Associate Professor of Historical Studies and Director of American Studies at Bard College. She is the author of the award-winning Nobility Lost: French and Canadian Martial Cultures, Indians, and the End of New France, and her scholarship has delved into the Atlantic military culture, French imperial legacies, and the intersection of Native and African-American history and material culture. Her current book project, Queen Victoria’s Captive: A Story of Ambition, Empire, and a Stolen Ethiopian Prince, reevaluates East African colonial encounters and the human consequences of the world’s most expensive hostage rescue mission.