Jennifer L. Palmer
Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic
University of Pennsylvania Press 2016
New Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in French StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network December 17, 2016 Alejandra Bronfman
Jennifer Palmer’s new book, Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), uses the stories of two extraordinary families as the point of departure for a study of the ways that household relationships, and the intimacy they entailed, shaped understandings of race, gender and slavery in the 18th century French Atlantic. Palmer analyzes the bonds of friendship, servitude, sex, and godparentage as they related to shifts in legal regimes regulating slavery. Her reliance on sources including correspondence and wills makes for rich storytelling about the complex lives of enslaved people and their owners, as both enabling and undermining of racial and gendered hierarchies.