The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine, and Fertility in the Age of Abolition

Hardcover | March 16, 2017

byKatherine Paugh

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The fertility of Afro-Caribbean women's bodies was at the crux of visions of economic success elaborated by many British politicians, planters, and doctors during the age of abolition. Reformers hoped that a home-grown labor force would obviate the need for the Atlantic slave trade. Byestablishing the ubiquity of visions of fertility and subsequent economic growth during the age of abolition, The Politics of Reproduction sheds fresh light on the oft-debated question of whether abolitionism was understood by contemporaries as economically beneficial to the British Empire. At thesame time, Katherine Paugh makes novel assertions about the importance of Britain's colonies in the emergence of population as a political problem. The need to manipulate the labor market in Britain's Caribbean colonies prompted crucial innovations in governmental strategies for managingreproduction. While assessing the politics of reproduction in the British Empire and its Caribbean colonies as a whole, the study also focuses in on the island colony of Barbados in order to explore the politics of reproduction within the British Caribbean. By recounting the remarkable story of an enslavedmidwife and her family, The Politics of Reproduction explores the deployment of plantation management policies designed to promote fertility during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Along the way, the volume draws on a wide variety of sources, including debates in the BritishParliament 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.

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The fertility of Afro-Caribbean women's bodies was at the crux of visions of economic success elaborated by many British politicians, planters, and doctors during the age of abolition. Reformers hoped that a home-grown labor force would obviate the need for the Atlantic slave trade. Byestablishing the ubiquity of visions of fertility a...

Katherine Paugh is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests encompass the history of race and gender, the history of medicine, and the politics of childbearing. She has been selected for over a dozen grants and fellowships that support outstanding research, including awards from th...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.02 × 0.01 inPublished:March 16, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198789785

ISBN - 13:9780198789789

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. 'The Old Settlers Have Bred a Great Quantity of Slaves': Slavery, Reproduction, and Revolution, 1763-17972. The Curious Case of Mary Hylas: Wives, Slaves, and the Limits of British Abolitionism3. Conceiving Fertility in the Age of Abolition: Slavery, Sexuality, and the Politics of Medical Knowledge4. A West Indian Midwife's Tale: The Politics of Childbirth on Newton Plantation5. 'An Increasing Capital in an Increasing Gang': Governing Reproduction, 1798-18386. Missionaries, Madams, and Mothers in BarbadosAfterwordBibliography