New Book | Repertoires of Slavery: Dutch Theater, 1770–1810

Posted in books by Editor on November 7, 2022

From Amsterdam UP:

Sarah Adams, Repertoires of Slavery: Dutch Theater between Abolitionism and Colonial Subjection, 1770–1810 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2022), 252 pages, ISBN: 978-9463726863, €117.

Through the lens of a hitherto unstudied repertoire of Dutch abolitionist theatre productions, Repertoires of Slavery prises open the conflicting ideological functions of antislavery discourse within and outside the walls of the theatre and examines the ways in which abolitionist protesters wielded the strife-ridden question of slavery to negotiate the meanings of human rights, subjecthood, and subjection. The book explores how dramatic visions of antislavery provided a site for (re)mediating a white metropolitan—and at times a specifically Dutch—identity. It offers insight into the late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century theatrical modes, tropes, and scenarios of racialised subjection and considers them as materials of the ‘Dutch cultural archive’, or the Dutch ‘reservoir’ of sentiments, knowledge, fantasies, and beliefs about race and slavery that have shaped the dominant sense of the Dutch self up to the present day.

Sarah J. Adams holds a Ph.D. in Dutch Literature (Ghent University, 2020). Her postdoctoral project Blackface Burlesques, funded by the Research Foundation — Flanders, investigates the scenarios, tropes, and techniques used to design and represent ‘Blackness’ on the comic stage of the Low Countries before the heyday of minstrel culture.


List of Figures

1  Dutch Politics, the Slavery-Based Economy, and Theatrical Culture in 1800
2  Suffering Victims: Slavery, Sympathy, and White Self-Glorification
3  Contented Fools: Ridiculing and Re-Commercializing Slavery
4  Black Rebels: Slavery, Human Rights, and the Legitimacy of Resistance
5  Conclusions

Consulted Archives, Collections, and Databases

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