Introduction: Fernando de Noronha Island: Foil, Paradox, Paradise, or Inferno?
2015. "Introduction: Fernando de Noronha Island: Foil, Paradox, Paradise, or Inferno?", Punishment in Paradise: Race, Slavery, Human Rights, and a Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Penal Colony, Peter M. Beattie
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The introduction outlines seven themes that are treated in the book. One important theme is that the social categories that constitute the “intractable poor” (convicts, slaves, free Africans, Indians in government-organized villages, and enlisted soldiers and sailors) are interconnected and mutually constitutive. While the statuses of these categories are different, all were subject to varying degrees of coercive labor extraction. The introduction also highlights the phenomena of “category drift” that accelerated after the end of the transatlantic slave trade in 1850, the mobilization for the Paraguayan War (1864–1870), and the rise of abolitionism in the 1880s. Slavery’s slow demise lessened the cache of merely being free and made even more privileged members of the free poor sensitive to the threat of category drift and the coercive labor extraction it could represent.
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