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Grant number: FR-10270-78

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Marsha J. Peterson
Mohawk Valley Community College (Utica, NY 13501-5394)

The William Freeman Case: A Study of Language

To study the ways in which the social and verbal environment of the 19th century affected the struggle for verbal consciousness in America. Study will focus on trial of William Freeman (1846) in Auburn, NY. Freeman, a Negro/Indian freed man slaughtered a white family, but this study will be more concerned with the level of language used than of the event itself. The Freeman case was one of the first famous trials in which the defense attorney entered a plea of insanity. Since madness is not a disease but a meaning, the trial transcript and the literature associated with it offer "a discourse of reason about unreason." Ambiguities of language will be explored.

Project fields:
Literature, General

Residential College Teacher Fellowships, 1976 - 1981

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$15,000 (approved)
$15,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/1978 – 5/31/1979