Feeding the French Atlantic: Slavery, Empire, and Food Provision in the French Caribbean, 1626-1789


ACLS Fellowship Program


Historical Studies and Geography


This project investigates the crises of subsistence that were triggered by France’s colonial expansion in the Caribbean in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It analyzes food provision on the local scale, considering how Amerindian populations and slaves were agents in the construction of early French Caribbean subsistence patterns, and highlighting conflictual relations over food and the development of slave gardens within the plantation complex. The study connects these processes to the global Atlantic scale by considering the early modern mercantile regulatory framework that governed French imperial trade networks. This project reconceptualizes slaves as consumers as well as commodities and the producers of commodities, whose collective economic effects were felt throughout the Atlantic world.