A Dark Inheritance

Blood, Race, and Sex in Colonial Jamaica

Brooke N. Newman

View Inside Price: $65.00


August 28, 2018
352 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
25 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300225556
HC - Paper over Board

A major reassessment of the development of race and subjecthood in the British Atlantic

Focusing on Jamaica, Britain’s most valuable colony in the Americas by the mid-eighteenth century, Brooke Newman explores the relationship between racial classifications and the inherited rights and privileges associated with British subject status. Weaving together a diverse range of sources, she shows how colonial racial ideologies rooted in fictions of blood ancestry at once justified permanent, hereditary slavery for Africans and barred members of certain marginalized groups from laying claim to British liberties on the basis of hereditary status.

Brooke N. Newman is associate professor of history and associate director of the Humanities Research Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is coeditor of Native Diasporas: Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas and lives in Richmond, VA.

“This exhilarating and innovative study of race, sex, and subjecthood in Jamaica demonstrates how a concentrated examination of “blood purity” gives us an entirely fresh perspective on crucial issues in the formation of identity within black and white populations. A major and exciting advance in understanding the British Atlantic.”—Trevor Burnard, University of Melbourne

“In this richly researched and cogently argued book, Brooke Newman reveals how ideas about blood and law and the making of a slave society in colonial Jamaica helped to construct as well as deconstruct racial difference in the imperial order. Few historians have done a better job of analyzing the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race in the print culture of the British Empire. A must read for any historian of slavery and abolition.”—Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition