slave life ” • de queíros mattoso H u m a n i t i e s
A minimum 800-Word Essay about “resistance,” drawing from the following readings:
• Conrad, “Children of God’s Fire”
• Anonymous, “The War against Palmares”
• Stuart Schwartz, “Sugar Plantation Labor and Slave Life”
• De Queíros Mattoso, “Solidarities” & “Refuges and Refusals” – ATTACH AS A WORD DOC
Recall the issues raised in our lectures and discussions about the multiple strategies enslaved people
used to resist oppression, without resorting to open rebellion. As we saw from the readings, nonviolent and “everyday” forms of resistance take multiple forms, including using the oppressive legal
system to achieve your own desired outcomes, running away from oppressors and organizing your
own society, sabotaging work processes, exploiting paternalistic relations with an oppressor to
reduce your labor burdens or gain some advantage, and ignoring rules about clothing, music, and
dance, among others. In other words, there are lots of ways to resist!
But, each form of non-violent and “everyday” resistance has advantages and disadvantages. And
they also have different long-term consequences. Some result in increased subordination to the
oppressor; some do not increase an oppressor’s power, but do not achieve long-term reduction in
oppression either; others may ultimately result in death.
With that in mind, do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
Subtle, non-violent, and “everyday” forms of resistance allowed enslaved people to survive
the brutality of enslavement and, sometimes, even slightly improve their conditions. Thus,
although these forms of resistance did not end of the system of slavery and often prevented
the emergence of solidarity among enslaved peoples, these strategies made more sense than
organized resistance or violent rebellion which often resulted in violent oppression or death.
In your answer, be sure to explain the difference between “everyday” and “organized” resistance,
using specific examples and details from the above-listed texts to support your assertions.
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