Black Ranching Frontiers African Cattle Herders of the Atlantic World, 1500-1900 Andrew Sluyter

Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Publication date:
27 Nov 2012
Yale University Press
320 pages: 235 x 156 x 27mm
52 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

In this groundbreaking book Andrew Sluyter demonstrates for the first time that Africans played significant creative roles in establishing open-range cattle ranching in the Americas. In so doing, he provides a new way of looking at and studying the history of land, labor, property, and commerce in the Atlantic world.

Sluyter shows that Africans’ ideas and creativity helped to establish a production system so fundamental to the environmental and social relations of the American colonies that the consequences persist to the present. He examines various methods of cattle production, compares these methods to those used in Europe and the Americas, and traces the networks of actors that linked that Atlantic world. The use of archival documents, material culture items, and ecological relationships between landscape elements make this book a methodologically and substantively original contribution to Atlantic, African-American, and agricultural history.

Andrew Sluyter is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University and a fellow at the American Council of Learned Societies (2012–2013). He is the author of Colonialism and Landscape: Postcolonial Theory and Applications, which won the James M. Blaut Award in Recognition of Innovative Scholarship in 2004.

Black Ranching Frontiers is a very important and deeply researched revision of the history of New World cattle ranching.”—Frederick Knight, author of Working the Diaspora: The Impact of African Labor on the Anglo-American World, 1650–1850

“Sluyter uses a case study approach in tracking down the presence of black cattle ranchers in the Atlantic world; in doing so he also maps the conceptual dimensions that led him to discover a forgotten circumatlantic actor.”—William Boelhower, Co-editor the journal Atlantic Studies and editor of New Orleans in the Atlantic World

"In this fascinating new must-read contribution to Atlantic World studies, Andrew Sluyter finds an impressive balance between magisterial breadth and telling detail; the result is a stunning achievement." — Matthew Restall, author of The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan

"A thorough, lucid, and convincing account of African contributions to the ranching traditions that profoundly transformed the ecologies and economies of the New World. A must-read for scholars and students interested in Atlantic history and the African diaspora. A truly remarkable book."—Judith Carney, author of In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa's Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World

"An original, well-researched, and well-written book.”—Gwendolyn Hall, Michigan State University