New Book: « Au-delà de la couleur »

Baptiste Bonnefoy’s Au-delà de la couleur : Miliciens noirs et mulâtres de la Caraïbe (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles) was published by Presses universitaires de Rennes in May 2022. 2022. With introductions by Renaud Morieux and Jean-Paul Zuñiga, the book explores the history of Black and mulatto militiamen of the 17th and 18th century Caribbean. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: A site of colonial battles, the Caribbean brought together discontinuous and precarious imperial territories. In colonial centers, the militia was often the main armed force for territorial defense and urban policing, especially, policing of slaves. This book is about the black and mulatto militiamen of these Caribbean towns, guardians of a colonial order that willingly mobilized the lexicon of color to express social hierarchies. They frequently served in separate companies commanded by officers of color. Separation was a way to reward local elites of color while setting theoretical limits on their social mobility.

By focusing on these militiamen and officers of color, this book examines the role and meaning of “color” for men in the colonial milieu, as well as the emergence, perpetuation, and limitations of elites of color in the Americas. Thanks to a multi-sited approach, and without minimizing the extreme violence of colonial societies, it frees itself from the discourses of the actors, in which color is omnipresent, to dissect practices and criteria for classification, and thus account for the local construction of social domination.

Baptiste Bonnefoy, doctor in history from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (École des hauts études en sciences sociales, EHESS), is a lecturer at the University of Paris Nanterre, a member of the American Worlds laboratory (Mondes Américains, UMR 8168) and associated with the Center for Historical Research (Centre de recherches historiques, UMR 8558).

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original description (in French) and table of contents, see

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