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The history of enslaved women, particularly with regard to their experiences in the early modern Atlantic world, illuminates the connection between slavery and capitalism. The Western notion of rational concepts of value and the irrational framework of race developed simultaneously. A history of enslaved women centers the material and ideological contours of reproduction in the emergence of both race and the “legitimate” slave trade. A failure to understand these emergent phenomena simultaneously runs the risk of understanding evidence of grief as the absence of critical thought. Ultimately, women enslaved in the early Black Atlantic were witnesses to the cataclysm that was the rise of hereditary racial slavery. By considering their lives and their perspectives, we approach by the conclusion, “Madness,” a clearer understanding of the costs and contours of racial capitalism.

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