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November 2017

Research Focus Group Talk: One and Indivisible? Slavery, Federalism and Secessionism in the French-Haitian Revolution
Manuel Covo (History, UCSB)

November 30, 2017 @ 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

“The Republic is one and indivisible”: this principle was the founding dogma of the regime that emerged during the French Revolution. The Republic, however, still “owned” colonies and the plantation societies in the French West Indies could not be more at odds with the principle of universal equality. Was the regeneration effected by the Revolution compatible with the maintenance of a colonial empire? This paper will explore the heated colonial debates on French federalism, secessionism, and slavery in the age of Atlantic revolutions. Professor Covo is a historian of the transition from early modern to modern European colonialism in the long eighteenth century. He specializes in French imperialism, political economy and Atlantic revolutions, with a special focus on the impact of the Haitian Revolution on France and the United States. Sponsored by IHC’s Slavery, Captivity, and the Meaning of Freedom…

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March 2018

Research Focus Group Workshop: The First Proslavery Novel? An Attribution and Analysis of the 1763 novel The Pregrinations of Jeremiah Grant, Esq. A West Indian, by Anonymous
Alpen Razi

March 19, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
4065 HSSB, HSSB, UC Santa Barbara

Brown-bag lunch workshop featuring work in progress by Alpen Razi, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at CalPoly. Sponsored by IHC’s Slavery, Captivity, and the Meaning of Freedom RFG.

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May 2018

RFG Talk: The Double Consciousness of Henry Box Brown in Four Acts
Matthew Rebhorn

May 21, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
2635 South Hall, South Hall, UCSB

If Henry Box Brown is known to contemporary audiences, then it is as the slave who achieved freedom by mailing himself in a box from Virginia to Philadelphia in 1849. While critics have explored this incredible event, less attention has been focused on Brown’s subsequent life as the performer of a moving diorama in England, a mesmerist, and a prestidigitator. Taking up his fascinating boxing experience, but also shedding more light on his later “acts,” as I call them, I argue that Brown used his performances of the black body to construct a new idea of “double consciousness,” Du Bois’s classic term for the psychological splitting of African-American subjectivity. By exploring the way that Brown used his performative acts to construct a conscious body—minding the body, as it were—I argue that he offered a new “onto-possibility,” as Jane Bennett calls…

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November 2018

Research Focus Group Talk: Origin Story: The Narrative of James Williams and the Formation of the African American Slave Narrative
Teresa Goddu

November 1, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

This talk provides a material history of the American Anti-Slavery Society’s first sponsored slave narrative, The Narrative of James Williams (1838), and illuminates how its publication and the controversy that surrounded it shaped the development of the genre as a whole. Teresa Goddu is Associate Professor of English & American Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Gothic America: Narrative, History, and Nation (1997) and the forthcoming book, Selling Antislavery: U.S. Abolition and the Rise of Mass Media. Sponsored by the IHC’s Slavery, Captivity, and the Meaning of Freedom RFG and the English Department’s American Cultures in Global Contexts Center

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March 2019

Research Focus Group Talk: Dred Scott & the Retroactive Invention of Citizenship
Carrie Hyde

March 8, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

How did Americans understand citizenship before it was defined in the 14th Amendment? If U.S. citizenship was only defined after abolition and emancipation, how did slavery shape American citizenship? Come and talk about these and related issues of race and civic belonging as Professor Carrie Hyde (UCLA) joins us for a brown bag discussion of the (pre-circulated) first chapter of her recent book, Civic Longing: The Speculative Origins of U.S. Citizenship (Harvard, 2018). Professor Hyde’s teaching and scholarship address the dynamic connections between US literature, law, and politics in the long nineteenth century. Her first book, Civic Longing, offers a new prehistory of citizenship. It examines the central role that fiction and other imaginative traditions played in shaping emergent conceptions of “citizenship” in the period before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), when the law was not yet the default cultural…

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May 2019

Research Focus Group Workshop: Personhood: Do We Make It or Know It?
Jeannine DeLombard

May 17, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This workshop will discuss the precirculated first chapter from Jeannine DeLombard’s current book manuscript, “Bound to Respect: Democratic Dignity and the Indignities of Slavery.” (Please click the "Download Reading" button above.) For many of us today, the artifice of legal personhood – the corporate person in particular – provokes outrage. Focusing on the legal fiction of slave personhood, this paper argues that in the 19th-century U.S., the greater danger came from naturalizing this artifice by attaching it to actual African American people, regardless of condition. This reconsideration of legal personhood contributes to current efforts by political theorists, legal historians, classicists, and philosophers to historicize the concept of dignity prior to the 20th-century human rights regime. DeLombard contends that what critic and novelist Ralph Ellison once called “the indignities of slavery” pertained less to the metaphysical value of humans than to the status of…

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December 2019

Workshop: The Unfree Trade of an Abolitionist Colony
Manuel Covo

December 2, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
6056 HSSB, 6056 HSSB. UC Santa Barbara

Manuel Covo will discuss a chapter from his current book manuscript. The chapter, entitled “The Unfree Trade of an Abolitionist Colony,” explores the economic challenges facing Saint-Domingue in the aftermath of abolition and argues that the war context and the food dependency had long-lasting consequences for the new Haitian society. The text will be pre-circulated; for a copy, email Sponsored by the IHC’s Slavery, Captivity, and the Meaning of Freedom Research Focus Group

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