Marisa J. Fuentes
“Refuse Bodies, Disposable Lives: A History of the Human and the Transatlantic Slave Trade”
My book project attends to the deaths of so-called “refuse slaves” who were often deemed unsellable at their point of disembarkation on the transatlantic slave trade and left to perish. My focus on these dying captives of the slave trade illuminates seventeenth and eighteenth-century constructions of “humanity,” Atlantic ports as spaces of death and immobility for captives, and the historical origins of the disposability of black life. Organized around key concepts and debates in critical black studies and the historiographies of Atlantic world slavery, this book interrogates and challenges common terms and language about enslavement including: the human, social death, (un)gendering the enslaved, slavery and capitalism, and the ethics of history. Refuse Bodies, Disposable Lives will introduce how the category of “refuse slave” presents itself and is rendered negligible in the archives of slavery and will reveal how racialized human precarity and capitalism emerged simultaneously, in the early modern Atlantic world.