Worlddialogueorgcontentphpid488 pillars of white

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Unformatted text preview: hat were so resistant and so vibrant that the social relations of slavery must not have done much damage at all. Even if this particular accusation is a form of caricature, it contains an important insight, that the agency of the weak and the power of the strong have too often been viewed as simple opposites. The anthropologist David Scott is probably correct to suggest that for most scholars, the power of slaveholders and the damage wrought by slavery have been “pictured principally as a negative or limiting force” that “restricted, blocked, paralyzed, or deformed the transformative agency of the slave.”44 In this sense, scholars who have emphasized slavery’s corrosive power and those who stress resistance and resilience share the same assumption. However, the violent domination of slavery generated political action; it was not antithetical to it. If one sees power as productive and the fear of social death not as incapacity but as a generative force—a peril that motivated enslaved activity— a different image of slavery slides into view, one in which the object of slave politics is not simply t...
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This document was uploaded on 03/26/2014.

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