Fara Dabhoiwala, the author of The Origins of Sex, teaches at Princeton and is writing a global history of free speech. (August 2020)

Follow Fara Dabhoiwala on Twitter: @fdabhoi.


Speech and Slavery in the West Indies

Fires during the Haitian Revolution; engraving by Jean-Baptiste Chapuy, circa 1791

The Freedom of Speech: Talk and Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean World

by Miles Ogborn

Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

by Vincent Brown
Slavery was foundational to Britain’s prosperity and rise to global power. Throughout the eighteenth century the empire’s epicenter lay not in North America, Africa, or India but in a handful of small sugar-producing Caribbean islands. The two most important—tiny Barbados and its larger, distant neighbor Jamaica—were among the most profitable places on earth. On the eve of the American Revolution, the nominal wealth of an average white person was £42 in England and £60 in North America. In Jamaica, it was £2,200. Immense fortunes were made there and poured unceasingly back to Britain.

Bed, Bench & Beyond

John Theobald Marshall: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, circa 1871

A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500–1700

by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson
To visit another person’s house is always to be reminded of two contradictory truths. On the one hand, domestic arrangements vary endlessly, between families and across cultures. Your kitchen is a gleaming high-tech palace of equipment; mine, a bare nook with a microwave. In Japan, people like to bed down …