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

    Pages: 304
    Illustrations: 4 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  vii
    Note on Terms  xi
    Introduction  1
    1. Black Freedom and Settler Colonial Order  21
    2. Black Geographies and the Politics of Diaspora  53
    3. Intimacy and Belonging  81
    4. Gendered Mobilities and White Settler Boundaries  111
    5. Race, Climate, and Labor  139
    6. U.S. Emancipation and Tropical Black Freedom  167
    Conclusion  193
    Notes  205
    Bibliography  253
    Index  281
  • Tropical Freedom is an ambitious and satisfying book. Ikuko Asaka balances the two focuses of her work—free black people’s understandings of their freedom and belonging, and white imperial understandings of tropicality, labor, and the spaces of black freedom—with deft organization and clarity.”


  • Tropical Freedom is an ambitious and satisfying book. Ikuko Asaka balances the two focuses of her work—free black people’s understandings of their freedom and belonging, and white imperial understandings of tropicality, labor, and the spaces of black freedom—with deft organization and clarity.”

  • "In this ambitious and outstanding book, Ikuko Asaka tells a richly researched and far-flung story of Canada, the Caribbean, the United States, Britain, and Africa that brings the histories of settler colonialism and antiblack racism together in startling fashion. Situating diaspora within distinct empires, labor systems, gender relations, and moments, she tremendously enriches the history of African-North American nationalism and emigrationism while deepening understandings of the material and ideological roots of race-thinking. What Asaka offers here is strikingly new and arresting." — David Roediger, author of, Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All

    "Establishing a transnational and transatlantic genealogy of racialization that spans three generations, Ikuko Asaka changes the way we talk about emancipation in historical and philosophical terms. The interpretive language of settler colonialism has gained ever more purchase in history, African American studies, and American studies, but there remains a dearth of works that actually take it up and use it thoughtfully. Asaka's important and compelling book is among the very first to do so." — Matthew Pratt Guterl, author of, American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation

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  • Description

    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.

    About The Author(s)

    Ikuko Asaka is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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