Jacobin Radio

The Dig: Capitalism and Slavery. Part 1.

May 15, 2019

Three interviews: historians Linford Fisher, Christy Clark-Pujara and Joanne Melish, and Emily Owens.

Dan conducted six interviews on capitalism and slavery at The Dig's recent Slavery's Hinterlands symposium here in Rhode Island. This first of two episodes begins with historian Linford Fisher, who explains that the English settlement of North America was a settler-colonial project that required genocidally dispossessing indigenous people of their lands. What you might not know is that a central tactic for that dispossession, in New England and Virginia alike, was the threat and actual enslavement of native people, including the widespread practice of forcing native youth to labor in English homes. Then historians Christy Clark-Pujara and Joanne Melish, who pick up where Fisher leaves off: slavery wasn't the South's peculiar institution; it was the bedrock of the northern economy. And finally, historian Emily Owens on sexual labor under slavery: what, Owens' work explores, did slavery and freedom mean for women for whom, in brothels or the home, sex was work? On the next episode, Dan has two more interviews looking at the big picture questions of slavery, capitalism, revolution and colonialism, and an interview with a group of public historians who teach about slavery today.

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