Listening to the Caribbean

BookListening to the Caribbean

Listening to the Caribbean

Sounds of Slavery, Revolt, and Race

Liverpool Studies in International Slavery, 20


July 1st, 2022



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The primary aim of Listening to the Caribbean: Sounds of Slavery, Revolt, and Race is quite ambitious: to open up the Caribbean to a “sound studies” approach, and to thereby effect a shift in Caribbean studies away from the predominantly visual biases of most scholarly works and towards a fuller understanding of early Caribbean societies through listening in to the past. Paying close attention to auditory elements in written accounts of slavery and revolts allows us to unlock the sounds that are registered and recorded there, so that not only does one gain a more sensorially full understanding of the society, but also to a considerable extent, the voices and subjectivities of the enslaved are brought out of the silence to which they have been largely consigned. Reading texts in this way, listening to the sounds of language, work, festivity, music, laughter, mourning, and warfare, for example, allows one to know better the lives of the enslaved people, and how, counter to the largely visual power of the planters, the people developed a highly sophisticated auditory culture that in large part ensured their survival and indeed their final victories over the institution of slavery.

Author Information

Martin Munro is Winthrop-King Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University, and the author of Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas (University of California Press, 2010); Exile and Post-1946 Haitian Literature: Alexis, Depestre, Ollivier, Laferrière, Danticat (Liverpool University Press, 2007); and editor of Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture and the Earthquake of 2010 (Liverpool University Press, 2010).

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Chapter One: The Atlantic Culture of the Ear: Law, Adornment, Dress, Balance
Chapter Two: Sounds of Slavery
Chapter Three: From Slavery to Resistance
Coda: Sensing Difference, Measuring Race