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Products for grant FA-233427-16

FA-233427-16
Black Theories of Citizenship in the Early United States, 1787-1861
Derrick Spires, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FA-233427-16

Black Theories in the United States, 1787-1861 (Book)
Title: Black Theories in the United States, 1787-1861
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Abstract: Black Theories of Citizenship in the Early United States, 1787-1861, analyzes early African American engagement with and critiques of U.S. citizenship forecast new understandings of citizenship based on five overlapping citizenship practices: neighborliness, participatory politics, economics, critique, and revolution. It foregrounds a rich archive of early African American print that includes convention proceedings, literary sketches, pamphlets, scientific and political treatises, novels, newspapers, and magazines to examine citizenship as both object of theoretical analysis and set of cultural practices.
Year: 2016
Publisher: Under Review
Type: Single author monograph

"Henry Highland Garnet's 'Address to the Slaves'" (Exhibition)
Title: "Henry Highland Garnet's 'Address to the Slaves'"
Curator: Derrick R. Spires
Curator: Harrison Graves
Curator: Jake Alspaugh
Abstract: This exhibit addresses an issue with the modern-day memory of Henry Highland Garnet’s “An Address to the Slaves of the United States.” It reminds readers not only that Garnet’s original address was an oration—and originally voted down—but that there are several subsequent editions of the printed text—each of which can be examined for its individual qualities. Garnet’s “Address” appears static, but it was a living document in many ways. By refocusing attention on the “Address” to more broadly recognize its history, we are able to show how it reflects issues connected to Black print culture in the antebellum period as well as tensions that exist between print and oral performance. We will trace Garnet’s “Address” through its inception at the 1843 Convention to its subsequent publication journey. In doing so, we extend our attention beyond the minutes of the forums and include information from newspapers and other textual sources to color in the gaps that surround the 1843 oration of Garnet’s “An Address to the Slaves of the United States.” This exhibit reimagines the forthcoming article, "Flights of Fancy": Rereading Henry Highland Garnet's "Address to the Slaves" through reception History and Print Culture," by Professor Derrick R. Spires to be included in the essay volume, Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age.
Year: 2016
Primary URL: http://coloredconventions.org/exhibits/show/henry-highland-garnet-addresshttp://
Primary URL Description: Exhibit Homepage

“‘I read my Mission as ‘twere a book’: Temporality and Form in the Early African American Serial Sketch Tradition” (Book Section)
Title: “‘I read my Mission as ‘twere a book’: Temporality and Form in the Early African American Serial Sketch Tradition”
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Editor: Cindy Weinstein
Abstract: The serial sketch form—fragmented, contingent, yet linear—that Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Wilson J. Wilson honed in the Anglo-African Magazine between 1859 and 1860 was integral to representing the experience of being on the verge, of looking forward not only to the immediacy of the next installment, but also to the “future that is before us.” Harper’s “Fancy Sketches” and “Triumph of Freedom—A Dream” register this mix of a deep hemispheric time and entanglement through readings of a seventeenth century Brazilian maroon nation and dream sequences that both review ongoing events like John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry and set these events in the timeless space of myth. Harper and Wilson are also concerned with history as a material processes, which results in narrators whose textual encounters reveal a sense of time as an interlocking of pasts, presents, and futures. Wilson explicitly links temporality to form and genre, representing what John Ernest has usefully framed in terms of “chaotic time and space.” And as the quote in my title suggests, these acts of reading—to read or to have read?—one’s destiny suggests that perhaps the answer isn’t as important as the awareness the question raises about the intertwining relationship between temporality and form and how pre-Civil War African American literature on the verge represents and makes use of that relationship.
Year: 2016
Access Model: Book
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (under review)
Book Title: Writing about Time: Essays on American Literature

Review of The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North (Article)
Title: Review of The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Abstract: Review or The Captive State by Douglass Jones with particular emphasis on methodology.
Year: 2016
Primary URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/612210
Primary URL Description: Link to article on ProjectMuse
Access Model: Subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Early American Literature

On Violence and Citizenship in Harper’s America, 1854-1860 (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: On Violence and Citizenship in Harper’s America, 1854-1860
Abstract: This talk takes up the intersection of material acts and literary representation: how black writers of the 1850s thought about slave uprisings, communal defense against kidnapping and capture, and the founding of maroon communities as models for revolutionary citizenship; how they represented them in literature; and how they theorized literary representation as part of a revolutionary process, “a form of political insurgency” that Franz Fanon describes in The Wretched of the Earth as “awakening the mind,” but which Frances Ellen Watkins Harper figures in terms of conversion through encounters with the [slave] sublime. Harper’s writing, speaking, and activism in particular explored the cultural work necessary for sustaining a prolonged battle for emancipation, even if, or perhaps especially when, violent conflict seemed not only imminent, but also necessary. She draws on local models—Margaret Garner (who killed her youngest daughter, rather than see her returned to slavery in December 1856), the “Tennessee Hero” (who died under torture rather than divulge the names of slave insurrectionaries in 1856) and John Brown—along with a broader black Atlantic and biblical archive as resources for instilling a revolutionary ethos in her readers and as multi-modal response to the complicated, chaotic, and dour outlook at the start of the 1860s.
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Date: 3/23/2016
Location: University of Northern Alabama

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Syllabus for Citizenship on the Verge W (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Syllabus for Citizenship on the Verge W
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Abstract: When we read the early African American print archive, citizenship quickly emerges as a key term and vexed concept. Absalom Jones’s 1799 petition to Congress for instance, claimed citizenship for his fellow petitioners and for enslaved people “in common with ourselves and every other class of citizens within the jurisdiction of the United States.” Claiming citizenship here not only signaled a rhetorical sense of belonging and political status, but also posited a definition of citizenship that went beyond contemporary legal restrictions and rights discourse. Using Frances Ellen Watkins Harper as a focus, my commentary will develop a genealogy of black thought on citizenship between 1799 and 1859. Harper’s work—poetry praising Margaret Garner, essays challenging readers to aid fugitive slaves, and fiction connecting a seventeenth-century Brazilian quilombo to the black convention movement and free black parlors—was often retrospective, stories about the past crafted to link domestic pedagogy to radical practices. This wide-ranging work offers a syllabus, one both celebratory and critical (particularly of gender exclusions), that provides a useful launch point for exploring and reassessing black writing on citizenship in the early Republic.
Date: 07/22/2016
Primary URL: http://www.shear.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/New-Haven-2016-program-online.pdf
Primary URL Description: Conference Program
Conference Name: Society for Historians of the Early Republic

Revolutionary Time in the Anglo-African Magazine (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Revolutionary Time in the Anglo-African Magazine
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Abstract: Frances E. W. Harper and Wilson J. Wilson’s serial sketches published in the Anglo-African Magazine (1859-1860) represent an experience of being on the verge—of hope, despair, and revolution. The form—fragmented, contingent, yet linear—propelled readers to the next installment, while Harper and Wilson’s narratives concerning history, the sectional crisis, and revolt review a disjunctive past imbricated and sometimes simultaneous with the “future that is before us.” Harper’s “Fancy Sketches” and “Triumph of Freedom” overlay hemispheric great time with the immediacy of antebellum freedom struggles, as characters read the history of Quilombo dos Palmares (a seventeenth century Brazilian maroon republic) and dream of David Walker’s activism and John Brown’s raid as both myth and prophesy. Wilson’s “Ethiop” translates an “ancient” tablet from the year 4000 telling of the destruction of the “Amecans,” a long gone “milk white race.” The text links temporality to form, as Ethiop wonders if the tablet is “fiction…history…or prophecy.” These acts of reading (and authoring) suggest that for Wilson and Harper pinpointing one form and one temporality isn’t as important as indeterminacy’s unsettling effects: the “Agitation” it produces and the futures it makes thinkable. Their textual encounters frame time as a tangle of future histories, a revolution ongoing and yet-to-come.
Date: 3/18/2016
Primary URL: http://c19.psu.edu/conference
Primary URL Description: Conference website.
Conference Name: Conference of Nineteenth-Century Americanists

“Two ‘Truths’ and a Lie: Frances E.W. Harper’s Reconstruction Revisions.” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “Two ‘Truths’ and a Lie: Frances E.W. Harper’s Reconstruction Revisions.”
Author: Derrick R. Spires
Abstract: This paper asks how the literature of citizenship and revolution looked for those who simultaneously celebrated a new relation to the state, but who also recognized the persistence of white supremacy, both North and South. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s revisions of pre-War poems and sketches after the Civil War to register the sense that while the War’s final outcome and the subsequent Reconstruction amendments were a victory of sorts, revolution was an ongoing process of deconstruction and reconstruction that does not repeat events in the antebellum north, but does “rhyme” with them. Even as poems like the “Aunt Chloe” cycle narrate transitions from enslavement to freedom, freedom to citizenship, and citizenship to voting, they also highlight the tensions between a franchise predicated on manhood, southern politicians’ efforts to reassert their authority by violence and bribery, and the work of “women radicals” like Chloe on the ground. Harper’s revisions to poems like “Truth,” similar to the reconstruction amendments, suggest progress, but also reveal an interlocking and simultaneous set of experiments for which Harper and others could only, in the moment, offer sketches or outlines that were simultaneously descriptive of the narrative “now,” proleptic, and at the same time framed through generic conventions developed over the past two decades. The contiguities and tensions between Harper’s pre-War work, then, direct us to question not only the forms literature and citizenship took during black reconstructions, but also how form and content registered the indeterminate and vexed nature of reconstruction itself.
Date: 11/11/2016
Primary URL: http://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/mmla/2016%20Word%20Merge%20112916.pdf
Primary URL Description: Convention Program
Conference Name: Midwest Modern Language Association


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