Revisiting Puerto Rico's Nineteenth- Century Sugar-and-Slavery History.

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  • Author(s): SCARANO, FRANCISCO1
  • Source:
    Centro Journal. Spring2020, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p4-32. 29p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      In the 1970s, a group of young historians took up the challenge of (re) writing historical narratives about Puerto Rico's 19th century. Most of the narratives focused on the economic and social history of the island's integration into the world economy via the export trades in sugar, coffee, and tobacco. No one was more influential than Andrés A. Ramos Mattei in breaking new ground on these historical topics. I contributed a study on the sugar plantation economy of the Ponce region--the island's largest-- during the first half of the century, a period when production fell largely in the hands of enslaved workers from Africa. The essay revisits the Sugar and Slavery book with the intention of placing it in a larger historiographical context, i.e., writings on the slave-holding Puerto Rican economy and society before and since the book's publication. It concludes that while it raised some significant points, there were also meaningful gaps and silences. I consider three of these (silence on gender and its intersectionalities, missed opportunities on the study of proto-peasantry, and little attention to culture-building) for further conceptualization, calling on future historians of Puerto Rico to take these up in new and more integral investigations. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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