Lecture Description

This lecture takes up the biggest stories of nineteenth-century American history through the most mundane artifacts: shoes manufactured in Massachusetts for the use of enslaved people in Mississippi, for example, or woolen dresses stitched in Rhode Island for enslaved women in South Carolina to wear. In following these goods from the communities in which they were made to the communities in which they were used, this lecture rethinks the geography of slavery and freedom in the decades before the Civil War. As importantly, it poses questions that continues to preoccupy us in the age of the iPhone and fair-trade coffee: what are the moral, ecological, and political relationships linking consumers and producers across long distances? What does it mean to be “complicit”?


Capitalism Slavery

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