Inhuman Traffick The International Struggle against the Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Graphic History

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 9/1/2014
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Inhuman Traffick tells for the first time a story of enslavement and freedom that spans the entire Atlantic world. Beginning in 1829 off the west coast of Africa with the recapture of the slave ship Neirsée--previously seized by the British Navy in its efforts to suppress the "inhuman traffick"--and ending with the liberation of the African passengers who had been sold into slavery in the French Caribbean, Rafe Blaufarb puts a human face on the history of the transatlantic slave trade and the efforts to suppress it. He addresses a neglected aspect of this tragic history in the wide geographical and thematic contexts in which it took place--Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Atlantic Ocean--and situates the story in familial, social, economic, diplomatic, and military spheres. Inhuman Traffick shows how history is done by explaining how the documents on which it is based moved through time and space from the ships, African outposts, colonial buildings, and ministerial offices to the archives of present-day Britain and France.

Blaufarb follows the ship, its crew, and its captives from the slave port of Old Calabar to the Caribbean and into the courts of Britain and France, where the history of the illegal slave trade, slavery in the Caribbean, and diplomatic history all come into focus. Students will be taken in by the vivid drawings and the rich narrative, but in Blaufarb's skilled hands, they will also find themselves immersed in a unique learning experience. Blaufarb not only presents the history of the ship and its captives, he takes the reader inside the project itself. He explains how he came upon the story, how he and his editor envisioned the project, and how he worked with illustrator Liz Clarke to craft more than 300 "cells" that comprise Part II of the book. He and Clarke even take the reader inside archives in France and Britain.

This powerful combination of historical essay, graphics, primary-source documents, and discussion questions gives students insight into the Atlantic World plantation complex, the transatlantic slave trade, and the process of historical storytelling itself.

Author Biography

Rafe Blaufarb is Professor of History and the Ben Weider Eminent Scholar at Florida State University.

Liz Clarke is a professional illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Table of Contents

Maps and Figures
Preface: The Making of Inhuman Traffick
About the Author and Illustrator

Part 1: Historical Context

The Atlantic Environment
The Slave Trades of Africa
Who Were the Captives?
Temporalities of the Trade
The Middle Passage
In America
The Origins of Abolitionism
Abolition in 1807
Internationalizing Abolitionism
The West African Squadron
Effects of Interdiction
Beyond the 1817 Treaties
Results of British Abolitionism
How the End of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Effected African Society
Emancipation in America and Africa
The Neirsée Incident in Atlantic Context
Cast of Characters

Part 2: The Graphic History

Chapter 1: International Efforts Against the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Chapter 2: The Neirsée Incident
Chapter 3: Sold into Slavery
Chapter 4: An International Incident
Chapter 5: From Happening to History

Part 3: The Primary Sources

Documents 1-4: West Africa: Seizure of the Neirsée
Documents 5-10: Caribbean: Enslaved on Guadeloupe
Documents 11-20: Caribbean: Colonial Authorities in Action
Documents 21-37: Europe: A Diplomatic Incident

Part 4: The Questions

Time, space, and technology
Slave Trade Database
Primary Source Documents
Making of the Graphic History
Gaps and Silences

Timeline of the Atlantic-Slave Trade

Rewards Program

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