Derived from the author’s 1994 master’s thesis, O infame comércio delivers several historiographical messages that remain valuable correctives to much of the scholarship on Brazilian slavery and particularly the termination of the slave trade to Brazil. He seeks to dismantle the tautological narratives that have long described the abolition of the slave trade as first and foremost a necessary step toward the abolition of slavery. Against such visions, Rodrigues suggests ways in which historians might place the project to end the slave trade between Africa and Brazil within the broad political and social context of the first half of the nineteenth century. Although the constitutive elements of his overall argument are at times less novel than he suggests, and although many of them have received more detailed treatment in recent scholarship, Rodrigues’s book is still a vital contribution to the study of the...

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