Kinship in Motion: Women and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




Jamaica was the most prosperous and one of the most perilous and deadly of Great Britain’s plantation colonies in the eighteenth century. The precarity of Black life in this time and place demanded a determined, and often, creative will to survive a variety of dangers that arose and coincided at any given time. Often in motion, enslaved women in the island’s Westmoreland Parish depended upon their own ingenuity, determination and empathy to create and maintain a community of both blood and chosen kin that would help keep themselves and their loved ones alive. A fundamental (re)conceptualization of slavery in eighteenth century Westmoreland, Jamaica as a predicament that enslaved women spatially and intra-relationally navigated and contested is the main objective of this dissertation.