OI Books: Shifting the Conversation on Slavery

Today’s post is part of our series marking the 75th anniversary of the Omohundro Institute by exploring the OI books that have had an impact on a scholar’s life. by Abigail Swingen The pages of my copy of Richard S. Dunn’s Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies are dog-eared thirty-one times. I referred to it repeatedly while I wrote my dissertation and my book. I first encountered the book in a class on colonial America in graduate school, but I did not really delve into it until I started to research my dissertation on unfree labor in the early English empire. I remember taking it with me practically everywhere I went on my first trip to the UK archives in the summer of 2002, reading it while on the Tube down to Kew, in coffee shops around London, and in the garden behind the dorm where I stayed at the University of Bristol. I’m sure many of the dog-ears date from that summer. In many ways the book remains indispensable to our understanding of the early English Caribbean colonies and how and why slavery played such an important role in their social and economic evolution. Read More

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