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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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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

Persons without Objects

Persons without Objects

Afro-American Materialisms from Fetishes to Personhood

Chapter:
(p.115) 4 Persons without Objects
Source:
Ariel's Ecology
Author(s):

Monique Allewaert

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816677276.003.0005

This chapter delves deeper into the discussion of alternative conceptions of the body and personhood. Its central argument is that the fetish artifacts produced by Afro-Americans presume a dispersed body that is important, first, for its conception of the person’s constitutive relation to the body’s outsides and, second, for offering a decentered account of systems, including that of the person. The chapter analyzes the works of Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American poet, whose poems evoke colonial natural history and political events, early national pageantry, and accounts of mercantilistic exchange. Wheatley distinguishes herself as a spiritual agent removed from the materialism of eighteenth-century New Englanders. Not only is Wheatley an avatar of Afro-American evangelicalism tradition, her works reconsiders the status of materiality, objects, and objectivity in early Afro-American culture.

Keywords:   personhood, Phillis Wheatley, Afro-American culture, objectivity, colonial natural history, political events, national pageantry, mercantilistic exchange

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