Enslaved Women in the Urban Marketplace
M.A., Univ. of South Carolina, 2008
Office: 134 LeConte
During the colonial era, enslaved Africans and their British captors slowly transformed old-world marketing practices into a system of local commerce that was unique to the American South. Unlike the markets of England or the American North, a majority of southern petty traders were enslaved women. By the antebellum period, bonded women had established trade networks that paralleled those of the Muslim Hausa in order to dominate local food markets. My goal is to illustrate how African and African American women created a commercial atmosphere that was characteristic of Islamic marketing in the antebellum South. My dissertation will reveal just how deeply the southern informal economy was shaped by enslaved Muslim women from West Africa. This project will lead to a new understanding of American history that moves from the strictly European origins of political economy to include the significant contributions of African commerce on our economic past.