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Ariel's EcologyPlantations, Personhood, and Colonialism in the American Tropics$
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Monique Allewaert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677276

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677276.001.0001

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Tempest in the Plantation Zone

Tempest in the Plantation Zone

(p.1) Introduction Tempest in the Plantation Zone
Ariel's Ecology

Monique Allewaert

University of Minnesota Press

This introductory chapter outlines the subject of the genealogy of the body, personhood, and agency covered in the entire book. Studying the character of Ariel in William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, the author argues that Ariel presages a conception of the body as a disorganizing, fundamentally diversifying entity that is not proposed by the great Enlightenment philosophers and thinkers whose ideas were central to colonial and politicians’ understandings of the body, the person, and the social contract. In nearly every materialist tradition the body is conceived as an organized and organizing system. However, the tropics produced a different tradition in which the body, whether animal or vegetable, is invaded, rendered in parts, and deranged, an experience which Afro-American slaves had gone through. This indicates a response to the brutalization in the Atlantic world not grounded on a desire for the constitution of the body as an enclosed an organic form.

Keywords:   body, personhood, agency, Ariel, The Tempest, William Shakespeare, social contract, materialist tradition, tropics, Afro-American slaves

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