Mastery tyranny and desire thomas thistlewood

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mastery tyranny and desire thomas thistlewood

Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World by Trevor Burnard

Eighteenth-century Jamaica, Britains largest and most valuable slave-owning colony, relied on a brutal system of slave management to maintain its tenuous social order. Trevor Burnard provides unparalleled insight into Jamaicas vibrant but harsh African and European cultures with a comprehensive examination of the extraordinary diary of plantation owner Thomas Thistlewood.

Thistlewoods diary, kept over the course of forty years, describes in graphic detail how white rule over slaves was predicated on the infliction of terror on the bodies and minds of slaves. Thistlewood treated his slaves cruelly even while he relied on them for his livelihood. Along with careful notes on sugar production, Thistlewood maintained detailed records of a sexual life that fully expressed the societys rampant sexual exploitation of slaves. In Burnards hands, Thistlewoods diary reveals a great deal not only about the man and his slaves but also about the structure and enforcement of power, changing understandings of human rights and freedom, and connections among social class, race, and gender, as well as sex and sexuality, in the plantation system.
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Thomas thistlewood

Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World

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Robert Olwell, T revor B urnard. Scholars of colonial Jamaica, and of American slavery, know Thomas Thistlewood as a notoriously cruel slave master. The diaries that Thistlewood kept throughout his thirty-six years on the island are some of the most important documents for plantation life in Jamaica in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Thistlewood carefully recorded his daily exercise of power over slaves with methods that often employed extreme force. But the resulting book is far more important than that. With Thistlewood as his prism, Burnard has also drawn a vivid and penetrating portrait of late eighteenth-century Jamaica.

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Trevor Burnard. Most historians of slavery are familiar with Thomas Thistlewood, the young man from Lincolnshire who settled in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica in , where he lived and worked in various capacities until his death in Much of the historical literature on slavery in the British West Indies is seasoned with material from Thistlewood's extensive diaries, which are among the richest surviving documents for the period. Thistlewood himself has been the subject of one book-length study by Douglas Hall; but, whereas, Hall's book reads almost like an annotated abridgement of the diaries, Trevor Burnard's work is a finely crafted microhistory of Thistlewood's life and world, brimming over with fascinating detail. Along the way, Burnard uses the diaries as a springboard to discuss the workings of power in a mature and still ascendant plantation colony, emphasizing throughout the overwhelming dominance of the planter class. Thomas Thistlewood was born in Tupholme, Lincolnshire in , the son of a tenant.

Thistlewood's diary, kept over the course of forty years, describes in graphic detail how white rule over slaves was predicated on the infliction of terror on the bodies and minds of slaves. Thistlewood treated his slaves cruelly even while he relied on them for his livelihood. Along with careful notes on sugar production, Thistlewood maintained detailed records of a sexual life that fully expressed the society's rampant sexual exploitation of slaves. In Burnard's hands, Thistlewood's diary reveals a great deal not only about the man and his slaves but also about the structure and enforcement of power, changing understandings of human rights and freedom, and connections among social class, race, and gender, as well as sex and sexuality, in the plantation system. For more information about Trevor Burnard, visit the Author Page. Essential reading for anyone interested in early American history and culture.

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