This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read last month, covering topics including fatness, the transatlantic slave trade, and the intersection of slavery and disability. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!
Feature: “Rites” by Savannah Johnston
Review: Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
“Slavery and Disability Discourse” by Christopher D. E. Willoughby for Black Perspectives: “Cartwright had turned running away—a logical and reasoned response to chattel slavery—into a pathology. Rather than reacting to alienation and brutalization, self-liberating enslaved people, Cartwright explained, had a mental disability. This medical leap, as many historians have argued, represented the depths to which pro-slavery whites would go to protect slavery as the institution was challenged by antislavery agitation beginning in the late eighteenth century. Drapetomania and the medicalization of race in the United States more generally emerged out of a century of debates about abolition, as many historians (including myself) have argued.1 Historian Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy’s new book encourages scholars to reach further into the past when considering the origins of this discourse.”
“How the Origins of Epidemiology Are Linked to the Transatlantic Slave Trade” by Jim Downs for Time: “In fact, many of the tools that we are using to control the pandemic—observation, surveillance and data collection—developed not from scientific inquiry in isolated laboratories, but rather as urgent responses to crises that arose due to the transatlantic slave trade and the expansion of the British empire. That troubling past is a reminder of how medical advances can occur on the backs of human beings with no say in the matter.”
“Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong” by Michael Hobbes for Highline: “Which brings us to one of the largest gaps between science and practice in our own time. Years from now, we will look back in horror at the counterproductive ways we addressed the obesity epidemic and the barbaric ways we treated fat people—long after we knew there was a better path.”