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Empirical FuturesAnthropologists and Historians Engage the Work of Sidney W. Mintz$
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George Baca, Aisha Khan, and Stephan Palmie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833452

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895344_baca

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Microhistory Set in Motion

Microhistory Set in Motion

A Nineteenth-century Atlantic Creole Itinerary

(p.84) Microhistory Set in Motion
Empirical Futures

Rebecca J. Scott

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes Sidney Mintz's Worker in the Cane as a model life history, uncovering the subtlest of dynamics within plantation society by tracing the experiences of a single individual and his family. By contrast, Mintz's Sweetness and Power gains its force from taking the entire Atlantic world as its scope, examining the marketing, meanings, and consumption of sugar as they changed over time. This chapter borrows from each of these two strategies, looking at the history of a single peripatetic family across three long-lived generations, from enslavement in West Africa in the eighteenth century through emancipation during the Haitian Revolution in the 1790s to emigration to Cuba, Louisiana, France, and Belgium in the nineteenth century. Tracing the social networks that sustained these people as they moved and identifying the experiences that shaped their political sensibilities can cast light on the dynamics of the achievement of freedom and on the development of vernacular concepts of equality.

Keywords:   Sidney Mintz, model life history, plantation society, Atlantic world, consumption of sugar, enslavement, emancipation, Haitian Revolution

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