Counting Bodies: Population in Colonial American Writing by Molly FarrellCounting Bodies: Population in Colonial American Writing by Molly Farrell

Counting Bodies: Population in Colonial American Writing

byMolly Farrell

Hardcover | September 15, 2016

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Quantifiable citizenship in the form of birth certificates, census forms, and immigration quotas is so ubiquitous that today it appears ahistorical. Yet before the modern colonial era, there was neither a word for "population" in the sense of numbers of people, nor agreement that monarchsshould count their subjects. Much of the work of naturalizing the view that people can be represented as populations took place far outside government institutions and philosophical treatises. It occurred instead in the work of colonial writers who found in the act of counting the "vast numbers" ofIndians who held her captive a way to imagine fixed boundaries between intermingling groups. Counting Bodies explores the imaginative, personal, and narrative writings that performed the cultural work of normalizing the enumeration of bodies. By repositioning and unearthing a literary pre-history of population science, the book shows that representing individuals as numbers was a centralelement of colonial projects. Early colonial writings that describe routine and even intimate interactions offer a window into the way people wove the quantifiable forms of subjectivity made available by population counts into everyday life. Whether trying to make sense of plantation slavery,frontier warfare, rapid migration, or global commerce, writers framed questions about human relationships across different cultures and generations in terms of population.
Molly Farrell is Assistant Professor of English at The Ohio State University.
Title:Counting Bodies: Population in Colonial American WritingFormat:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:September 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190277319

ISBN - 13:9780190277314

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