Maternal struggles and the politics of childlessness under pronatalist Caribbean slavery

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Abstract / Description of output

This article considers the relationship of enslaved and apprenticed women in the Anglophone Caribbean to the embodied experience of childbearing, motherhood, and childlessness. It places this analysis in the context of a discussion of the development and implementation of pronatalist policies in the Anglophone Caribbean during the late period of slavery. It examines the experience of pronatalist policies by enslaved women, using as a case study a microhistory from Jamaica during the apprenticeship period (1834-1848). Although the existence of pronatalist policies gave some women (mothers with large numbers of children) a position from which to claim reduced workloads and other ‘rights’, they made the situation of childless women more difficult. In historians’ attention to the struggles of mothers, we have sometimes paid insufficient attention to the perspective of childless and bereaved women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-268
JournalSlavery & Abolition
Volume38
Issue number2
Early online date4 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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