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The Body as Machine, the Body as Commodity, and the Body as a Temple: Treatments of Enslaved African Laborers on Buena Muerte Sugar Estates in Cañete, Peru

Author(s): Claire K. Maass

Year: 2017

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Summary

From its arrival in Lima in 1709 until the abolition of slavery in 1854, La Orden de la Buena Muerte was among the largest slaveholders in the sugar industry of Cañete, Peru. Moreover, as an order explicitly founded to oversee the physical and spiritual well-being of marginalized communities, the Buena Muerte also played a critical role in public health programs throughout the region. These activities were grounded in fundamentally different, and often opposing, perspectives towards the treatment of persons of African descent. I argue that efforts to more fully understand the institution of slavery on Buena Muerte estates must account for the diverse economic interests and Christian values that shaped attitudes towards the treatment of enslaved African laborers. How did the Buena Muerte reconcile a model of exploitative control over the bodies, health, and standards of living of enslaved persons, with the ecclesiastical project of physical and spiritual salvation? What system of practices for controlling slave labor emerged from this negotiation, and how did it affect the health and well-being of the laborers themselves? To address these questions, I discuss preliminary historical and archaeological findings from ongoing research at one of the Buena Muerte’s sugar estates in Cañete, Peru.


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The Body as Machine, the Body as Commodity, and the Body as a Temple: Treatments of Enslaved African Laborers on Buena Muerte Sugar Estates in Cañete, Peru. Claire K. Maass. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430883)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14740

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America