Frederick Douglass vs the American Constitution

Open talk by Professor Lloyd Pratt, Oxford! How does Frederick Douglass's account of plain reading fit with his investment in rhetorical play elsewhere in his public discourse? Pratt also examines how the relative inattention to African American intellectual history in recent calls for new modes of reading in the humanities has undersold the complexity of African American thinking on the relation of reading to politics.

Image may contain: Man, Hair, Moustache, Forehead, Chin.

Photo by Library Of Congress/Getty Images:  Free Man, ca. 1855. Ex-slave, American abolitionist, agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and US Minister to Haiti in 1889. Frederick Douglass (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) became the first black man to be received at the White House, by President Abraham Lincoln.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) is best known today for his autobiographical "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself" (1845). 

Frederick Douglass's disagreements with white abolitionists over the content and meaning of the US Constitution and its relation to racial slavery marked a turning point in his intellectual and political career. These disagreements pivoted on what Douglass called his "plain reading" of the Constitution. 

Program

This lecture considers how Douglass's account of plain reading fits with his investment in rhetorical play elsewhere in his public discourse. It also examines how the relative inattention to African American intellectual history in recent calls for new modes of reading in the humanities has undersold the complexity of African American thinking on the relation of reading to politics.

The event is open to all, no registration required. Light refreshments.

Welcome!

Professor Lloyd Pratt is Drue Heinz Professor of American Literature; Fellow of St John's College, University of Oxford. His research interests lie in nineteenth-century American literature, African-American literature, the literatures of the American South, the Novel, theory and criticism, gender and sexuality, and the history of the book.

 

Event organized by the research group Literature, Rights, and Imagined Communities, ILOS, University of Oslo. 

Funded by Fritt Ord.

Published Oct. 3, 2019 2:01 PM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2019 2:01 PM