Freedom, Race, and Slavery in the 19th-century United States
This course will explore the relationship between slavery and freedom in the 19th-century United States. By reading texts produced within various factions of the abolitionist movement, we will explore the way that concepts of “race” and “freedom” emerge simultaneously in the first full century following American independence. We will look to answer questions such as: How does the slave narrative form allow enslaved individuals to write themselves into, critique, or radically challenge understandings of national subjecthood? How do antebellum texts produced in the North represent the relationship between race and the nation-form? How can fictional texts produced under slavery be read as re-imaginings of the relationship between freedom, race and slavery?
This course counts as a “W” credit and will require the completion of two 5-7 page papers. Class sessions will include a combination of lecture, discussion, group work, presentations, and writing assignments.
Course texts available at the bookstore will include David Walker’s “Appeal,” Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno,” Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, and Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of the Slave Girl. There will also be a course packet available at the Ave. Copy shop that will include short stories and secondary and theoretical texts.
David Walker's "Appeal": ISBN: 978-0-8090-1581-8
Herman Melville's "Benito Cereno": ISBN: 978-0-312-45242-1
Harriet Wilson's Our Nig: ISBN: 978-0-307-47745-3
Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl ISBN: 0-674-00271-7