“On the Pleasures of Owning Persons” Fact Sheet

On the Pleasures of Owning Persons Cover ArtTitle: “On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery”  

Publisher:  International Psychoanalytic Books

Release Date: June 19, 2016

Print ISBN:  9780996548199

Synopsis: “On the Pleasures of Owning Persons” is a study on the gratifications that slavery gives to slave owners. Looking back on slavery from the 21st century, many find it more comfortable to believe that slave owners were evil or sociopathic. The startling truth is that most were not, and many were otherwise admirable individuals, including many of America’s Founding Fathers who embodied a deep faith in God.

In “On the Pleasures of Owning Persons,” takes an honest approach to the unfathomable topic of slavery. Particularly, the book addresses three topics:

  • What were these pleasures of owning slaves?
  • How did freedom-loving, American Christians explain ownership to themselves?
  • How did they defend themselves against this double contradiction?

The book also examines how America’s slave-owning forbearers and their mindsets continue to affect race relations today.

Author: Volney Gay, the author of “On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery,” is a professor of religious studies, psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He also served as the director of psychotherapy training the Department of Psychiatry. He has authored nine books on topics ranging from occult religion; Sigmund Freud; Carl Jung; literature and psychology; religion and science; psychotherapy and values; American slavery and the psychology of ownership, among others.