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A Chain of Murder in the Slave Trade: A Wider Context of the Zong Massacre

Krikler, JM (2012) 'A Chain of Murder in the Slave Trade: A Wider Context of the Zong Massacre.' International Review of Social History, 57 (03). pp. 393-415. ISSN 0020-8590

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This article seeks to explore from a new angle the massacre associated with the slave ship Zong ? that is, the murder of around 130 slaves at sea in 1781. Hitherto, the massacre has been looked at largely in terms of the law, particularly insurance law, and the commercial logic of the British slave trade. This article gives due weight to the overriding concerns of commerce in the Zong atrocity, but it also explains it in terms of the culture and context of the selection of captives for the slave trade, a process in which ships' surgeons were prominent. It argues that this process habituated surgeons and captains ? the Master of the Zong was both ? to the possibility of death (at the hands of African controllers) of the captives they deemed unfit for the Atlantic slave trade. The article proposes that in the slave trade, medical expertise became yoked to the fateful decision of whether or not to accord commodity value to the captive. Where the surgeons decided to deny commodity value to a captive in the trade, he or she suffered ?commercial death?, which was all too often followed by death itself.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2013 19:13
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:28

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