Saltwater Insurgency: Drowning and Gender during the Middle Passage


  • Britt van Duijvenvoorde Radboud University Nijmegen



Dutch slavery, Hortense Spillers, Archive, Gender, Drowning, Oceanic


This article resurfaces an enslaved female whom we encounter, drowning, in the archive of the Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie (MCC). To unfold a reading beyond the transcription of her commodified death, I investigate the five localities that conditioned her bodily inscription into history: the archive, the law, the ship, the ocean, and the womb. Traveling through these localities, I disclose, at once, the historical violence against black females through the transatlantic slave trade system and the excess black females proved to be to this very system. Excessive thus, black female lineage provides an alternative to white, patriarchic systems of relation.

Author Biography

Britt van Duijvenvoorde, Radboud University Nijmegen

Britt van Duijvenvoorde is a PhD Researcher at the International Institute of Social History (IISG). She obtained a Master’s degree in Philosophy at Radboud University and in History at Leiden University. Her PhD is part of the Vidi project Resisting Enslavement: A Global Historical Approach to Slavery in the Dutch Atlantic and Asian Empire (1620-1815), where she researches how captive individuals co-shaped and challenged “enslaveability” in the Dutch colonial empire in the 18th century.



How to Cite

van Duijvenvoorde, Britt. 2024. “Saltwater Insurgency: Drowning and Gender During the Middle Passage”. Krisis | Journal for Contemporary Philosophy 44 (1):52-67.