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Condamné à mort: Slavery and the Hangman of New France, 1733-1743

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Condamné à mort: Slavery and the Hangman of New France, 1733-1743

Coulter, Gregory (2016) Condamné à mort: Slavery and the Hangman of New France, 1733-1743. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This case study strives for a greater understanding of slavery as experienced in New France, as well as its relationship to the French Atlantic. It draws on documents related to Mathieu Léveillé, the executioner of the colony from 1733 to 1744. Léveillé lived as a plantation slave in Martinique for 24 years. He was sentenced to death after being caught making a third attempt to escape, but his sentence was commuted to serving as the hangman of New France. His life speaks to the relationship between slavery and the early modern scientific understanding that black bodies were unfit for northern climates. Léveillé’s doctors diagnosed his depression through this theoretical framework, thus confirming French prejudices. As this case study demonstrates, slavery in New France cannot be separated from slavery in the Caribbean. Black slaves in Canada are best understood through an Atlantic perspective as slavery did not exist in Canada without its existence in the Caribbean. This perspective is not confined to national borders which is key to a better understanding of slavery in Canada. The value of this study therefore comes from its contributions to understanding the connection of black slaves to the colonies in which they were born and touches on racism in scientific frameworks and mental health.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Coulter, Gregory
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Zilberstein, Anya
ID Code:981838
Deposited By: GREGORY COULTER
Deposited On:07 Nov 2016 14:54
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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