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Title page for ETD etd-03242015-063056

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Sentell, Charles Julius
URN etd-03242015-063056
Title Freedom and Food, Slavery and Agriculture: A Philosophical Ecology
Degree PhD
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lucius T. Outlaw, Jr. Committee Chair
Jane G. Landers Committee Member
Kelly Oliver Committee Member
Lenn E. Goodman Committee Member
Lisa Guenther Committee Member
  • prehistoric philosophy
  • agrarian slavery
  • agricultural slavery
  • freedom and slavery
Date of Defense 2015-03-19
Availability unrestricted
In this dissertation I examine the relationships between freedom and slavery through the intersections of food and agriculture. Qualified in various ways, contemporary research across disciplines supports the view that, before agriculture, hunters and gatherers lived in relatively egalitarian societies wherein wealth was communal and hereditary inequality nonexistent. Interrogating the basic arc and assumptions of this narrative, I analyze how human practices surrounding the acquisition, production, distribution and consumption of food intersect specific forms of political power. My aim is to articulate a political theory of subsistence, or a theory of subsistence politics, that reconstructs the relationships of freedom and food on the one hand, and slavery and agriculture on the other. My thesis is that the experiences of freedom held as central to human nature and politics are inextricably linked to specific configurations of power operative within the realm of human necessity. in this way, the realm of human necessity in general - and the various activities attendant the biosocial reproduction of everyday life in particular - constitutes a general economy of domination and dependence, as well as a vital ecology for cultivating new forms of resistance and radicalism.
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