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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Summer 2009


Class Matters is the culmination of an ongoing effort by Smith and Middleton to make class, often disparaged during the past two decades as of little use, once again a relevant category of historical analysis. The editors seek to encourage scores of different approaches, recognizing that the variety of early modern contexts makes a unified approach inapt. Applying a multitude of approaches, each of the collection’s authors agrees that socioeconomic inequality remains critical to understanding the lives of all those who lived in the Atlantic world during the transition from the early modern to the modern era. The essays are transnational, ranging across the Atlantic from Glasgow to West Africa, the West Indies, North American ports, and interior regions occupied by Native Americans and tenant farmers. The essays apply class analysis to the lives of diverse groups of peoples: women, Native Americans, laves, laborers, the middle class, and the elite. The wide range of these writings reinforces the editors’ point that class analysis is applicable to all geographic regions and groups.