Slavery, Capitalism, and Women's Literature

Economic Insights of American Women Writers, 1852-1869

Title Details

Pages: 230

Illustrations: 2 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 08/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6459-9

List Price: $29.95


Pub Date: 08/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6460-5

List Price: $114.95

Slavery, Capitalism, and Women's Literature

Economic Insights of American Women Writers, 1852-1869

Situates women writers as economic critics and theorists under slavery and capitalism

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  • Description
  • Reviews

With Slavery, Capitalism, and Women’s Literature, Kristin Allukian makes an important contribution to slavery and capitalism scholarship by including the voices of some of the best-known nineteenth-century American women writers. Women’s literature offers crucial and previously unconsidered economic insights into the relationship between slavery and capitalism, different from those we typically find in economics and economic histories.

Allukian demonstrates that because women’s imaginative and creative texts take the material-historical connection of slavery and capitalism as their starting point, they can be read for the more speculative extensions of that connection, extensions not possible to discover on a material-historical level. Indeed, Allukian contends, these authors and texts disclose unique economic insights, critiques, and theories in ways that are only possible through literary writing.

The writers featured in this study—Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lucy Larcom, Harriet Jacobs, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper—published written accounts of the continuities between slavery and capitalism including between language and activism, accounting and sentimentalism, labor and technology, race and property, and inheritance and reparations. Their essays, novels, poems, and autobiographies provided forums to document data, stimulate debate, generate resistance, and imagine alternatives to the United States’ developing capitalist economy, engined and engineered by slavery. Without their unique economic insights, the national narrative we tell about the relationship between slavery and capitalism is incomplete.

By focusing on nineteenth-century women’s literary texts, Kristin Allukian reimagines the ongoing discussion of slavery and capitalism from the distinctive perspectives that only gendered accounts can bring. This is a brilliantly useful book for historians, literary scholars, and general readers wishing to comprehend the emergence and impact of 'slavery’s capitalism.'

—Paul Lauter, author of Our Sixties: An Activist's History

Slavery, Capitalism, and Women's Literature makes an important intervention in discussions of the relationship between slavery and capitalism, particularly in terms of women’s understanding of and contributions to this discourse. Allukian also significantly reframes the discussion around four relatively well-known texts by American women writers, opening them up in completely new and groundbreaking ways.

—Jennifer Putzi, author of Fair Copy: Relational Poetics and Antebellum American Women's Poetry

Slavery, Capitalism, and Women's Literature makes significant contributions to a number of fields, including the study of gender and slavery; the (new) history of slavery and capitalism; nineteenth-century women writers; and what I hope becomes a burgeoning field, the study of literature and capitalism. . . . It is engagingly written and carefully argued.

—Sarah E. Gardner, coeditor of Insiders, Outsiders: Toward a New History of Southern Thought

About the Author/Editor

KRISTIN ALLUKIAN is an assistant professor of English and faculty affiliate in women’s and gender studies at the University of South Florida.