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Narratives of Freedom in the Atlantic World

This course explores the literary, social, historical, and political significance of narratives written by enslaved African Americans in the nineteenth century Atlantic world. These narratives grew in popularity in North America as well as Britain, as the core themes of survival, resistance, and redemption engrossed readers. By the end of the nineteenth century, over 150 narratives had been published. With freedom as our watchword, we will study a handful of these narratives as biography, as testimony, as resistance, and as abolitionist discourse. To contextualize these narratives, we will read scholarship on race and gender as well as slavery and abolition. Along the way, you will gain an understanding of the link between freedom and literacy, fact and fiction, authenticity and authorship, all the while tracing how these narratives fit within an African American literary tradition.

Narratives of Freedom in the Atlantic World
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