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Articles on Cotton

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Remnants of polychrome colouring were scrubbed from recovered ancient Greek sculptures and artists created new all-white marble sculptures seen as continuous with an imagined past. (Shutterstock)

How whiteness was invented and fashioned in Britain’s colonial age of expansion

Western fashion, laundering and style reflected the racialized politics dramatically shaped by profound global transformations bound up with slavery, colonialism and modernization.
Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, approached by a Berber on camelback, from The Catalan Atlas, 1375. Attributed to Abraham Cresques/Bibliothèque Nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons

Book review: how Africa was central to the making of the modern world

Born in Blackness by Howard W. French is a towering work. It argues that, because of gold and slavery, Africa is central to creating the modern world.
The Port of Savannah used to export cotton picked by enslaved laborers and brought from Alabama to Georgia on slave-built railways. Cotton is still a top product processed through this port. Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Slave-built infrastructure still creates wealth in US, suggesting reparations should cover past harms and current value of slavery

Geographers are documenting slave-built infrastructure, from railroads to ports, in use today. Such work could influence the reparations debate by showing how slavery still props up the US economy.

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