[Blackstudies-l] Review of “Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar: Martinique and the World-Economy 1830-1848”

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Thu Jan 18 02:25:32 EST 2018


ivetteromero posted: " William A. Morgan (Lone Star College-Montgomery)
recently reviewed Dale W. Tomich’s Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar:
Martinique and the World-Economy, 1830-1848. A classic text long out of
print (first published in 1990), which SUNY Press reprinted in 2"
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<http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/> Review of “Slavery in
the Circuit of Sugar: Martinique and the World-Economy 1830-1848”
<http://repeatingislands.com/2018/01/17/review-of-slavery-in-the-circuit-of-sugar-martinique-and-the-world-economy-1830-1848/>
by
ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>

*[image: sugSX329_BO1,204,203,200_]*

*William A. Morgan (Lone Star College-Montgomery) recently reviewed Dale W.
Tomich’s Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar: Martinique and the World-Economy,
1830-1848. A classic text long out of print (first published in 1990),
which SUNY Press reprinted in 2016, this book traces the historical
development of slave labor and plantation agriculture in nineteenth-century
Martinique.*

*Description (SUNY Press)*: *Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar* traces the
historical development of slave labor and plantation agriculture in
Martinique during the period immediately preceding slave emancipation in
1848. Interpreting these events against the broader background of the
world-economy, Dale W. Tomich analyzes the importance of topics such as
British hegemony in the nineteenth century, related developments of the
French economy, and competition from European beet sugar producers. He
shows how slaves’ adaptation—and resistance—to changing working conditions
transformed the plantation labor regime and the very character of slavery
itself.

Based on archival sources in France and Martinique, *Slavery in the Circuit
of Sugar* offers a vivid reconstruction of the complex and contradictory
interrelations among the world market, the material processes of sugar
production, and the social relations of slavery. In this second edition,
Tomich includes a new introduction in which he offers an explicit
discussion of the methodological and theoretical issues entailed in
developing and extending the world-systems perspective and clarifies the
importance of the approach for the study of particular histories.

*Dale W. Tomich* is Deputy Director of the Fernand Braudel Center for the
Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, and Professor of
Sociology and History at Binghamton University, State University of New
York. He is the editor of New Frontiers of Slavery, also published by SUNY
Press.

*William A. Morgan writes: *[. . .] The value of *Slavery in the Circuit of
Sugar’s* reissue primarily lies in the new introduction, in which Tomich
expands his original analysis by explaining the methodological and
theoretical underpinnings of his attempt to understand Martinique’s
sugar-based slavery through a world-systems perspective. Based on this
interpretation, the need for a reissue is partially explained by a similar,
current emphasis among scholars of slavery and capitalism to view the
latter not as the beginning and end of the former, but rather an evolving
process whose transitions over time were reflected in the local
institutionalization of slavery. Although published twenty-seven years ago,
Tomich’s initial focus in *Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar* nevertheless
mirrors recent works including those of Edward Baptist, Sven Beckert, and
Robin Blackburn. [. . .]

[. . .] It should also be noted that the insistence on a revised framework
of interpreting slavery more thoroughly through a global economic context
is directly related to another contemporary analytical field, known as
“second slavery” studies. This field attempts to distinguish new zones of
slavery emerging in relation to changes in the wider economic, political,
and social background. Immensely influential in this scholarship, Tomich’s
early effort at distinguishing changes in labor practices according to
shifts in world markets in *Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar* provides an
additional rationale for the reissue. The principal treatment for this
topic is most apparent in one of Tomich’s final chapters that discusses the
role of technology in determining slave labor patterns. [. . .]

For printable, full version of the review, see http://www.h-net.org/
reviews/showpdf.php?id=49939

For more on the book, see http://www.sunypress.edu/p-
6188-slavery-in-the-circuit-of-sugar.aspx
*ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>* | January
17, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Tags: Martinique
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/martinique/>, plantation agriculture
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/plantation-agriculture/>, slavery
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/slavery/>, Slavery in the Circuit of
Sugar: Martinique and the World-Economy
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/slavery-in-the-circuit-of-sugar-martinique-and-the-world-economy/>
| Categories: History <http://repeatingislands.com/category/history/>, News
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