New World Slavery: Redefining the Human (Essay) - Annali d'Italianistica

New World Slavery: Redefining the Human (Essay)

By Annali d'Italianistica

  • Release Date - Published: 2008-01-01
  • Book Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Author: Annali d'Italianistica
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New World Slavery: Redefining the Human (Essay) Annali d'Italianistica read online review & book description:

I. Introduction Debates on racial slavery in the New World highlight the process of consolidation of a racialised, autonomous and rational modern subject defined against its "others." This redefinition of the subject marks the emergence of modernity, whereby an increasingly pervasive notion of self-centredness was to gradually replace the medieval theological imagination, which posited a fundamental similitude of microcosm to macrocosm, linking the terrestrial to the divine. Obeying no grand narrative of progress, the epistemological break between old and new brought about by modernity was incoherent: the medieval and the modern coexisted with each other in the form of a tension between the religious and the secular, as witnessed in the disruptions that the confrontation with alterity in the Americas brought to the conceptual framework, which had prevailed in Europe from Judeo-Christian times to the Renaissance. (1) The very birth of modernity is thus representative of dialectical humanism in that it contains within itself a "counterdiscourse of domination" (Venn, 2000, 148), a self-critical and self-reflexive conscience that questions modernity's totalising impulse in the Americas.

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