The Truck System in Transatlantic Perspective

I have conducted research as a PhD researcher at the Vrije Universiteit on my own research project ‘Truck System in Transatlantic Perspective: Louisiana and the Netherlands 1865-1920’, funded by the Professor Van Winter-fonds and under supervision of prof.dr. C.A. Davids and dr. S.W. Verstegen. I obtained my PhD in Social and Economic History in 2016.

The truck system was an oppressive labor system through which laborers were forced to spend (part of) their wages at the company store. American historians have incorporated the system into the discussion of re-enslaving the former slaves. The system, however, existed throughout the world in the nineteenth century and existed in countries that did not have a history of slavery. I investigated whether the truck system in Louisiana was an integral part of re-enslavement of the former slaves after 1865 was, or whether it was an independent phenomenon that did not differ essentially from developments in other countries in the same period.

My research resulted in the dissertation titled Beyond Racism and Poverty. The Truck System on Louisiana Plantations and Dutch peateries, 1865-1920 (2016). I reworked my dissertation to a book, published by Brill in the series Studies in Global Slavery (2018) and presented at the International Institute of Social History on March 2, 2018. Read my interview with Ad Valvas on my research here. In April of 2018, I was included in Elsevier’s American Dreamers platform after joining the Transatlantic Seminar on US-NL connections, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.