The plantation system thrived and expanded through the following years (centuries), and the Caribbean became the focus of American slave centers, "The planters of the Caribbean bought about sixty percent of all the slaves sold to the Americas be...
This essay offers a brief review of existent literature in the field of Islamic studies in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas focusing on its main themes and suggesting some areas for further consideration and research. The essay makes theoretical suggestions for where scholars could inject their energy and efforts to advance this unfolding field of study. These theoretical considerations suggest that more work could be done in expanding the field in its engagement with prevalent theories in the field of global Islamic studies and those that treat the Americas as a geography of dynamic hemispheric engagement and encounter. Essentially, the paper argues that there is still a necessity to explore the tensions, interactions, frictions, and collaborations across and at the boundaries between the global umma and the American assabiya, between the global and the local, and between immigrant communities and the growing number of regional converts. Finally, the author suggests some practical considerations that may prove beneficial to the field’s advancement.
Prior to the 19th century, the plantation islands of the Caribbean were the most-valued possessions in the overseas Imperial world. Most valuable by far were the sugar plantations, which ranged from as little as eighty to as much as 2,000 or more acres of land, and from forty to 500 or more slave labourers. By the decade of the 1680s, the sugar planters, especially those of Barbados, were feeling the effects of low prices and rising costs of production. The price decline was the result of an increase in supplies of sugar from Brazil and the English and French Caribbean islands relative to consumer demand in European markets. Old and new problems faced the planters in the thirty-five years from 1714 to 1748. It seems evident that around the middle of the century economic conditions began to improve in Jamaica and in other British Caribbean colonies as output increased while prices, sustained by a buoyant demand in the home market, remained at a higher level than in previous decades.
Within the restrictions imposed upon the slave woman in Caribbean slave plantation society, her actions in resistance are such that they could be considered an active form of resisting.
In other cases, enslaved women broke the bonds of not only slavery, but the stereotypes of black womanhood as well.
In many ways, society as
a whole reflected the hierarchy of the plantation.
Like Spain, Portugal created a bureaucratic structure that integrated
this colony within an imperial system.
João José Reis does well to instead argue for maintaining the tension between these alternative explanations and instead argues that it was the networks that existed across, and between, African ethnic and religious communities that allowed for Africans of various ethnicities and religious affiliations took part in the revolt. Principally, he contends that limiting the rebellion’s causes to solely religious or ethnic factors does little to show the myriad forces at work that helped these slaves form communities of social solidarity across religious, ethnic, and even class lines in the Bahian slave society. Unpacking, and analyzing, eyewitness accounts from Brazilian, French, and English sources, Reis produces the most complete picture of that night of rebellion, its aftermath, and effect to date. As such, Reis’s work is a critical historical analysis that serves as an interpretive interlude that shifts the historiography of Latin American and Brazilian slavery on the one hand and Islam and Muslim communities in Latin America and Brazil on the other. By placing emphasis on both slave agency and the Bahian social setting—specifically the importance of a plurality of African ethnic identities in interaction with Muslim identities—Reis inspires future scholars in two directions: first, to bore down into particular histories, narratives, and geographies and second, to view Islam and Muslim lives as set within a constellation of cultural, social, and political factors. Indeed, his work invites further exploration of other slave rebellions and the overlapping roles of religion, society, and culture in other places and spaces throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the American hemisphere.
Several years before writing this essay, as I began studying for this essay in earnest, I happened upon a , believe it or not, which helped me crystallize this essay’s epochal approach. The was missing from the author’s account, as well as the , of course, but in a discussion of socio-technical development, the author listed four different “vectors” of technological development, which he described as: Discovery, Invention, Innovation, and Diffusion. They corresponded to scientific discoveries, creating inventions, marketing them, and people using them. I have witnessed organized suppression in each vector.
By the early 1700s, and other writers began openly challenging the Church and began arguing for freedom as everybody’s birthright, and the began. Voltaire spent his first stint behind bars in 1717 for his satirical writings. Some have placed the Enlightenment’s beginning in the 1600s, with the feats of and Newton, but as with many other movements, their beginnings were modest. Not until about 1750 was the institution of slavery, hallowed for several thousand years by that time, challenged for the first time on universal grounds. In 1315, France’s , but as France joined the colonial competition, it relied on slave labor for its Caribbean plantations. Ironically, in a French colony, Haiti, although the victory was pyrrhic in ways, as that former slave colony is the .
In 508 BCE, Athens entered its classical period, which lasted for nearly two centuries. In those two centuries, so much was invented by Greek philosophers and proto-scientists that it has been studied by scholars for thousands of years. One provocative question that scholars have posed is why the Industrial Revolution did not begin with the Greeks. The answer seems to be along the lines of Classic Greeks not having the social organization or sufficient history of technological innovation before wars and environmental destruction ended the Greek experiment. The achievements of Greece over the millennium of their intellectual fecundity are far too many to explore in this essay, but briefly, the Greeks invented: , , , the , a monetized economy, thought, such as , while developing other branches to unprecedented sophistication, and , which included the idea that . Long after the Classic Greek period was over, Hellenic intellectuals and inventors kept making innovations that had major impacts on later civilizations, such as Heron of Alexandria (or some other Greeks) inventing the and .
Some scientists treat every proboscidean extinction as a unique mystery, unrelated to other proboscidean extinctions, and climate and resulting vegetation changes are hypothesized as agents of extinction (or other causes invoked), when the most probable cause stares at them each morning in the mirror. The devil in the details, but regarding the megafauna extinctions, some specialists cannot seem to discern a very clear pattern. Scientists, because they are human, have an inherent conflict of interest when attributing such catastrophes to non-human causes. During the remainder of this essay, it will become evident that there is a human penchant for absolving one’s in-group of responsibility for catastrophes and crimes committed against the out-group, and , scientists, and other professionals regularly engage in such interest-conflicted acts, whether they were defending their species, race, gender, nation, class, ideology, ethnicity, or profession. That in-group/out-group difference in treatment has a long history and probably goes back to the beginnings of territorial social animals.
The derision was loud from Wrangham’s colleagues…until evidence of was found at in South Africa by using new tools and techniques. The chortling is subsiding somewhat and scientists are now looking for the faint evidence, and long-disputed evidence of 1.5-1.7 mya controlled fires is being reconsidered, although his hypothesis is still widely considered as being only "mildly compelling" at best. New tools may push back the control of fire to a time that matches Wrangham’s audacious hypothesis. Wrangham cited the Expensive-Tissue Hypothesis as partially supporting the Cooking Hypothesis, but , the energy to power the human brain may not have solely derived from cooked food’s energy benefits. Wrangham has cited numerous lines of evidence, one of which is a that has to find honeybee hives and smoke them out; the humans get the honey and the honeyguide gets the larvae and wax. According to recent molecular evidence, the evolutionary split of the honeyguide from its ancestors happened up to three mya, which supports the early-control-of-fire hypothesis. There is great controversy regarding these subjects, from recent findings that to scientists making arguments that to the social impacts of campfires. This section of this essay will probably be one of the first to be revised in future versions, as new evidence is adduced and new hypotheses are proposed.