Paul Lovejoy's Transformation In Slavery

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Paul Lovejoy’s Transformation in Slavery should be a standard for those who study or want to gain more knowledge of African slavery. He has dramatically enhanced both African and slave historiography with his complex endeavor. The book examines how indigenous practices of slavery advanced under the influence of international trade. Unlike so many other books, its study is not restricted to the trans-Atlantic slave trade but also reflects the impact of all forms of slavery on the political, social, and economic development of the continent. Throughout the preface, Lovejoy explains the maturity of the academic discourse of slavery in Africa growing out into two divergent fields; African social history and the Atlantic slave trade. He attempts to synthesize the ideas of both fields successfully, exploring the changes in the political economy that account for the spread of slave use within Africa, specifically exploring the effects of Islam, external markets, and the actions of slaves and former slaves themselves in…show more content…
With such a broad context, it comes as a hard task to pin point the major thesis. He sums up his major claims on page 21, “the interaction between the indigenous setting, Islamic influence, and the European demand for slaves provided the dynamics in the development of slavery in Africa over the past millennium.” In the preface, Lovejoy outlines his main arguments and goals. One such goal was to relate the internal development of slavery in Africa to external forces. In doing so, exploring the ways in which the demand for slaves in the Americas and elsewhere affected the political economy of the areas from where the slaves came and demonstrating the interaction between local and global forces. Lovejoy also argues that the specific features of slavery as a mode of production on Africa connected the mechanisms of enslavement with the slave trade and use of

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