The Freedom of Speech: Talk and Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean World (A University Club Event)

The University Club of Chicago sponors a noontime event via Zoom. This is a ticketed event. Tickets available here.

In the beginning was the word, which made all things—or at least, in Ogborn’s telling, all the most important relations of power that define modern politics. His inspired examination of the intimacies of speech, liberty, and bondage in the British Caribbean announces a vital new departure for the study of slavery, its political geography, and its legacies. This book will change the way we hear the insistent chorus of voices that echo across generations of freedom struggle.”—Vincent Brown, author of Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

The institution of slavery has always depended on enforcing the boundaries between slaveholders and the enslaved. As historical geographer Miles Ogborn reveals in The Freedom of Speech, across the Anglo-Caribbean world the fundamental distinction between freedom and bondage relied upon the violent policing of the spoken word. Offering a compelling new lens on transatlantic slavery, this book gathers rich historical data from Barbados, Jamaica, and Britain to delve into the complex relationships between voice, slavery, and empire. From the most quotidian encounters to formal rules of what counted as evidence in court, the battleground of slavery lay in who could speak and under what conditions. But, as Ogborn shows through keen attention to both the traces of talk and the silences in the archives, if enslavement as a legal status could be made by words, it could be unmade by them as well. A deft interrogation of the duality of domination, The Freedom of Speech offers a rich interpretation of oral cultures that both supported and constantly threatened to undermine the slave system.

About the Author:  Miles Ogborn is professor of geography at Queen Mary University of London. His books include Global Lives: Britain and the World, 1550–1800 and Indian Ink: Script and Print in the Making of the English East India Company, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

This event is presented in partnership with The Book Stall. You can support us by purchasing The Freedom of Speech via this website!

 

Event date: 

Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Event address: 

Online Zoom event!
The Freedom of Speech: Talk and Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean World Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780226657684
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: University of Chicago Press - October 14th, 2019

The institution of slavery has always depended on enforcing the boundaries between slaveholders and the enslaved. As historical geographer Miles Ogborn reveals in The Freedom of Speech, across the Anglo-Caribbean world the fundamental distinction between freedom and bondage relied upon the violent policing of the spoken word.