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Volume 20, 2004

World-System Analysis: Contemporary Research and Directions

Wilma A. Dunaway
Pages 186-200

Diaspora History Construction and Slave Culture Formation on Small U.S. Plantations

This analysis of enslavement in an American South subregion provides an historical microcosm for understanding the complexities of provincial culture formation in the modern world-system. Simultaneously rooted in multiple points of local and world-systemic origin, peoplehood is an historical product of the capitalist world-system. Despite widespread notions to the contrary, low black population density and geographical isolation did not forestall slave community building on small plantations. Despite extreme repression, slaves dialectically preserved and altered hidden transcripts in order to recapture pasts that had been silenced by the capitalist system. Embracing the collective diasporic memory of many disparate communities, small slave populations shared the collective grievance and the counter-hegemonic culture of all who had been forced to participate in international and domestic labor migrations.

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