01 TTH5 CAC 18539 BAAKI SC-104
The Eighteenth-Century Black Atlantic
This course will examine a body of texts with black subjects produced in North America and England throughout the Eighteenth Century. We will begin with Samuel Sewell’s 1700 anti-slavery tract “The Selling of Joseph” and end with Venture Smith’s 1798 slave narrative A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture. Along the way we will read Cotton Mather’s biography of African American Joseph Hanno (1721), the first slave narratives beginning with Britton Hammon’s (1760), essays by Ignatius Sancho, the anti-slavery writing of Ottobah Cugoano, selections from Hector St. John de Crevecoeur and Thomas Jefferson, and the poetry of Phyllis Wheatley, among other texts. We will focus on secondary, critical and theoretical work that either anticipates or follows the lead of Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic (1993) in viewing early black expressive culture as a trans-national, transatlantic phenomenon. We will also observe, or question, the emergence of a distinct tradition of African American writing in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century. Students will be required to present on a secondary text and a primary document from the archive, submit mid- and final term essays, and complete daily reading response assignments.