In other words, enslavement at the same time negates the humanity of certain human beings and exploits it for the advantage of other human beings. In order for this social fiction to function, it needs ideological underpinnings that make it possible to perceive it as natural and/or justified. In every society that admits it, in any form and to any extent, a certain amount of cultural work is necessary in order to blunt the edges of this paradox, to domesticate and naturalize this most radical form of commodification of human beings, and to work around the contradictions inherent in it. Scholarship on New World systems of enslavement has been alert to this complex of problems for a very long time. In the age of Enlightenment, the enslavement of Africans and their forced relocation to the sugar cane, cotton, rice and tobacco plantations of the New World was tied insolubly to debates on the genetic classification of human beings, their origins and early development, and towards the end of the eighteenth century the debates on race fed directly into the formulation of the notion of rights of man (Ferrone 2019).