Politics of Population: Empire, Slavery and Race

  • Eamon Wright


Late eighteenth-century British women writers lived and wrote in a context. What follows in this chapter is an examination of the politics of population within that contextual landscape. The nature of that landscape was British capitalism, skewed by colonialism and international trade from its inception, and which had deeply marked Britain.1 It created an eddy across all features of national, social, political and economic life. The ‘population’, variously delineated in subsequent textual moments, is located inside questions of poverty, welfare and citizenship; these are narratives which provide the contextual interaction of moral panic and ethnic survival. Crisis and social anxiety in late eighteenth-century Britain were inextricably linked in the valorization of British raciology. The centrality of ‘race’ is most obvious in slavery; slavery and the slave trade were endemic to that early phase of modern British social, political and economic development. But ‘race’ is not reducible to slavery alone; other ways in which ‘race’ imprinted early modern Britain are also explored in this chapter.


Social Anxiety Black Woman Eighteenth Century Black People Slave Trade 
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Notes and References

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