Childs on Visible Fugitives and the “Out-Of-Placeness” of Runaway Slaves at AAIHS

"The Maroons in Ambush on the Dromilly Estate in the parish of Trelawney, Jamaica, by J. Bourgoin; engraved by J. Merigot"; published by J. Cribb [London, 1801] as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)
“The Maroons in Ambush on the Dromilly Estate in the parish of Trelawney, Jamaica, by J. Bourgoin; engraved by J. Merigot”; published by J. Cribb [London, 1801] as shown on http://www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)
Greg Childs writes:

“In all fairness to historians who have taken this position in their either implicit or explicit discussions of black geographies, the insistence on seeing un-enslaved fugitives in the confusing and contradictory space of the “bush” stems from a similar insistence that spills out from the documentation of runaway communities. In the context of the Portuguese empire, for example, by the 1650s those who were employed as slave catchers were known as “capitães do mato” a term that is often literally rendered in English as “bush captain”. 5 The name itself was not employed consistently across the Portuguese empire and thus other names for the slave catchers emerged as well by the 1680s. Yet, these names also locked runaway communities into a geographical wilderness. Thus the “capitães das entradas dos matos” were “captains of the entryway into the bush,” a phrase that seemed to consider the “entryway into the bush” to be the very the boundary between rational civilization and uncharted wilderness. Thus by locating black subjects in undeveloped, unmapped areas, black subjects are themselves naturalized as irrational and underdeveloped by archival sources.”

Read the entire post: Visible Fugitives | African American Intellectual History Blog

Advertisements

Join the Discussion

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s