Slavery and the Economic Value of a Human Life

Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Radio Archive, Episode undefined

  • May 10, 2017 11:00 pm
  • 22:55 mins

Guest: Daina Ramey Berry, PhD, Associate Professor of History and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas-Austin, Author of “The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation” In the middle of the nineteenth century, when slavery was widespread in the American South, a healthy adult male slave could be purchased for what would be, in today’s currency, a sum of $23,000. Today, it's shocking to think of assigning a price tag to a human life. But analyzing the values placed on enslaved people throughout their lifetimes is the focus of a new book by historian Daina Ramey Berry called "The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation." Not only does she place front and center the market values of enslaved people, she reveals what slaves themselves thought about the price their owners paid for them and how they coped psychologically when other people tried to determine what they were worth.

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Guest: Deborah Tannen, PhD, Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University, author of “You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendship” You know when you text someone a request, and they reply “sure”? No exclamation point, no smiling emoji, not even a capital “S.” Are they happy to help you out, but in a hurry and can’t take long to text, as in and energetic, “Sure!” or are they just saying “sure,” voice down, because they can’t think of a way to say no?  The way words are said can matter as much as the words themselves. Digital communication is fraught with opportunities to send or receive the wrong message. But so is face-to-face conversation. Linguist Deborah Tannen studies the messages behind our messages.

Guest: Deborah Tannen, PhD, Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University, author of “You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendship” You know when you text someone a request, and they reply “sure”? No exclamation point, no smiling emoji, not even a capital “S.” Are they happy to help you out, but in a hurry and can’t take long to text, as in and energetic, “Sure!” or are they just saying “sure,” voice down, because they can’t think of a way to say no?  The way words are said can matter as much as the words themselves. Digital communication is fraught with opportunities to send or receive the wrong message. But so is face-to-face conversation. Linguist Deborah Tannen studies the messages behind our messages.