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Counting Bodies
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Counting Bodies: Population in Colonial American Writing

Molly Farrell


Quantifiable citizenship—in the form of birth certificates, census forms, and immigration quotas—is so ubiquitous that today it appears ahistorical. Yet before the modern colonial era, there was neither a word for “population” in the sense of numbers of people, nor agreement that monarchs should count their subjects. Much of the work of naturalizing the view that people can be represented as populations took place far outside government institutions and philosophical treatises. It occurred, instead, in the work of colonial writers such as Mary Rowlandson, who found, in the act of counting the ... More

Keywords: Population, Colonialism, Census, Early America, Literature, Statistics, Anne Bradstreet, Benjamin Franklin, Mary Rowlandson, Richard Ligon

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190277314
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277314.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Molly Farrell, author
Assistant Professor of English, The Ohio State University