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Beginning with a discussion of an 1863 carte de visite of Wilson Chinn, a branded slave, chapter 3 examines early applications of biometric surveillance and draws a link between contemporary biometric information technology and transatlantic slavery. The diary of English planter Thomas Thistlewood, written accounts of the slave trade, runaway slave notices, and cartes de visite are analyzed in this chapter to argue that the history of branding in transatlantic slavery anticipates contemporary social sorting. Using Frantz Fanon’s concept of epidermalization, this chapter charts a genealogy of digital epidermalization by focusing on branding and the role of prototypical whiteness in...

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