Author Biography

Shelby Johnson is an assistant professor of English at Oklahoma State University, where she researches and teaches on sexuality, race and, environmental studies in the long eighteenth century. She is currently completing a book project titled The Rich Earth Between Us: The Intimate Grounds of Race and Sexuality in the Atlantic World. In it, she argues that figures of a gifted earth organize a set of worlding practices that ground and animate anticolonial intimacies. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in MELUS, English Language Notes, and The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.


In this essay, I consider how The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831) extends vital affordances for assembling a literary history of ecological rupture, settler colonialism, and transatlantic slavery. These insights arise from my experiences teaching Prince in “Plotting the Plantationocene in Early Atlantic Literature” (Fall 2021), a course which took up what it means to orient to historical formations of climate change as co-emergent with plantation systems. I argue that my students explored how figures like Prince open politically vibrant pathways for being in the world otherwise to plantation modernity.


Mary Prince, plantation, Plantationocene, pedagogy, salt industries