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Fictions of Consent
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Although early modern England claimed to have "too pure an Air for Slaves to breathe in," slavery was a quintessentially English phenomenon, writes Urvashi Chakravarty. She argues that England laid the conceptual groundwork for racialized slavery as it interrogated the classical inheritances and contemporary contexts for bondage.

About the Author

Urvashi Chakravarty is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

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In this timely and persuasive book, Urvashi Chakravarty traces the classical Roman origins for the conceptual and rhetorical contours of the transatlantic slave trade by paying attention to the inflections that were given to ancient rituals, vocabulary, and literary texts in early modern England and passed on to the New world from the first moments of imperial expansion. Like the sixteenth-century humanists examined in its pages, in other words, Fictions of Consent leans back to lean forward. * Lynn Enterline, Vanderbilt University *
Urvashi Chakravarty brilliantly crafts a project that boasts historical, textual detail - indeed, her project betrays a dazzling and fastidious attention to sources - while also making crucial theoretical interventions into some of the most important issues in the field: servitude, slavery, racialization, and the law. She is the rare critic who sees, and can analyze, both the forest and the trees. * Rebecca Lemon, University of Southern California *
Fictions of Consent is a tour de force that effectively debunks many older chestnuts about England's lack of knowledge about, and engagement with, slavery and forced labor. Urvashi Chakravarty systematically demonstrates how actively engaged the early modern English society was with both notions and practices of slavery. Moreover, she has an expert's attentiveness to archival materials, discovering both new materials and reading older ones in new and illuminating ways. Fictions of Consent is a vital piece of early modern scholarship. * Ayanna Thompson, Arizona State University *

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