Race, Medicine, and Fertility in the Age of Abolition
Oxford University Press 2017
Katherine Paugh's new book The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine, and Fertility in the Age of Abolition (Oxford University Press, 2017) examines the crucial role that reproduction took in the evolution of slavery in the British Caribbean. Using plantation records, Paugh reconstructs the life and work routine of Doll, an enslaved midwife tasked with delivering children on a Barbadian estate. Doll's experience and approach butted up against the desires of slave reformers at the turn of the nineteenth century, who wanted to see a more routinized approach to enslaved women's reproduction. As Paugh makes clear in her book, childbirth in the Caribbean became a critical goal for imperial observers who hoped to end the slave trade through a flourishing of natural reproduction in the colonies. This objective transformed the lives of enslaved people, and revolutionized the politics of slavery in the Anglophone world.