Slave Culture

Kevin Dawson

in The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227990
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Slave Culture

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  • History
  • Social and Cultural History
  • Slavery and Abolition of Slavery



This article reviews scholarship on slave culture and the slave experience. Historians of the American South have had an interest in slavery since the early twentieth century but not until fairly recently have they paid sustained attention to the enslaved. Historians have begun to examine slaves, providing a bottom-up analysis of how slavery and slaves shaped their culture, daily lives, and southern white culture generally. This more recent emphasis has been sensitive to the importance of variables: how southern slave culture was shaped by time, place, work patterns, source population (the origins of African-born slaves); whether a region was under English, Dutch, Spanish, Spanish, French, or American jurisdiction; whether slaves lived and worked in societies with slaves or slave societies; whether slaves were skilled, toiled under the task system, or were gang labour; whether they produced tobacco, indigo, rice, sugar, and cotton; their proximity to Native Americans or Spaniards; and whether they lived in times of war or peace.

Keywords: slaves; slavery; slave experience; American South; history

Article.  10488 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History ; Slavery and Abolition of Slavery

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