Sugar Cane, Slaves And Ships: Colonialism, Geography and Power in Nineteenth-Century Landscapes of Montreal And Jamaica

Type of resource
Authors/collaborators
Title
Sugar Cane, Slaves And Ships: Colonialism, Geography and Power in Nineteenth-Century Landscapes of Montreal And Jamaica
Abstract
The author explores the central role of geography and its racialized representation as landscape art in imperial conquest by juxtaposing temperate and tropical slavery in nineteenth-century Montreal and Jamaica. The author maintains that one could easily assume that nineteenth-century Montreal and Jamaica were worlds apart, but through her examination of marine landscape art, the author re-connects these two significant British island colonies, sites of colonial ports with profound economic and military value. Through an analysis of prints, illustrated travel books, and maps, the author argues that the separation of these colonies was a retroactive fabrication designed in part to rid Canada of its deeply colonial history as an integral part of Britain's global trading network which enriched the motherland through extensive trade in crops produced by enslaved workers on tropical plantations. Examining the Montreal landscapes of artists including Thomas Davies, Robert Sproule, George Heriot and James Duncan, the author reveals how gender and race mediated the aesthetic and scientific access of such - mainly white, male - artists. She analyzes this moment of deep political crisis for British slave owners (between the end of the slave trade in 1807 and complete abolition in 1833) who employed visual culture to imagine spaces free of conflict and to alleviate their pervasive anxiety about slave resistance. She explores how vision and cartographic knowledge translated into authority, which allowed colonizers to 'civilize' the terrains of the so-called New World, while belying the oppression of slavery and indigenous displacement.
Book Title
Living History: Encountering the Memory of the Heirs of Slavery
Place
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Publisher
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Date
2009
Pages
19-56
Language
en
Citation
Nelson, Charmaine A. “Sugar Cane, Slaves And Ships: Colonialism, Geography and Power in Nineteenth-Century Landscapes of Montreal And Jamaica.” In Living History: Encountering the Memory of the Heirs of Slavery, edited by Ana Lucia Araujo, 19–56. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
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