“A nuanced and fascinating account of how Irish Catholics shaped the emergence of racial hierarchy in the English Caribbean. With meticulous attention to the constraints and possibilities of everyday life, Shaw explores the way that early settlers marked and ranked social difference, finding that status distinctions were surprisingly malleable, even in a society overwhelmingly organized by slavery and race. Offering close readings of fresh sources, this is both an important study and an impressive feat of the informed imagination.”
—Vincent Brown, author of The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery
“While good historians have always investigated how their sources were created, preserved, and invoked, Shaw moves her post-modern approach a step further to explore how ‘probing archival spaces and fissures’ can move ‘marginalized historical actors closer to the center of the historical narrative.’”
"Shaw works comfortably within the framework of social history and she also makes an explicit call for more attention to recovering the lives of those rendered invisible, to reading the silences of the archive, and to writing history aided by disciplined imagination."
—Helena M. Wall, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
"This fascinating study is one of the latest in a decade-plus body of literature on the colonial Caribbean which acknowledges the towering place of race, slavery, and imperialism in its history but also manages to explore the subtleties and nuances that shaped the region’s historical experience. . . . [T]his work is a welcome addition to the growing scholarship on marginalized populations in one of the most important sites of colonial activity in the Americas."
—Jefferson Dillman, Historical Geography
"[The book]is a thoughtful and imaginative study which anyone trying to comprehend the experiences of slave yards and indentured barracks should find illuminating. . . . Shaw’s Everyday Life is a fascinating study that specialists in West Indian and neighboring fields will find thought provoking and instructors can assign to students as an introduction to a slaveholding social system."
—James Robertson, Florida Historical Quarterly
"Jenny Shaw makes important contributions both historiographically and methodologically. Her research fits within a growing body of scholarship on the Atlantic world that examines the origins of slavery and racism… Shaw’s approach to these sources is informed by her vast knowledge of cultural anthropology, politics, archaeology, and religion… This is a must-read for scholars interested in the Caribbean and in colonial America.”
—David M. Stark, Early American Literature Book Review
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