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Tropical Freedom : Climate, Settler Colonialism, and Black Exclusion in the Age of Emancipation, Hardback Book

Tropical Freedom : Climate, Settler Colonialism, and Black Exclusion in the Age of Emancipation Hardback


In Tropical Freedom Ikuko Asaka engages in a hemispheric examination of the intersection of emancipation and settler colonialism in North America.

Asaka shows how from the late eighteenth century through Reconstruction, emancipation efforts in the United States and present-day Canada were accompanied by attempts to relocate freed blacks to tropical regions, as black bodies were deemed to be more physiologically compatible with tropical climates.

This logic conceived of freedom as a racially segregated condition based upon geography and climate.

Regardless of whether freed people became tenant farmers in Sierra Leone or plantation laborers throughout the Caribbean, their relocation would provide whites with a monopoly over the benefits of settling indigenous land in temperate zones throughout North America.

At the same time, black activists and intellectuals contested these geographic-based controls by developing alternative discourses on race and the environment.

By tracing these negotiations of the transnational racialization of freedom, Asaka demonstrates the importance of considering settler colonialism and black freedom together while complicating the prevailing frames through which the intertwined histories of British and U.S. emancipation and colonialism have been understood.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304 pages, 4 illustrations
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of the Americas
  • ISBN: 9780822368816

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