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English 7780: Studies in Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Spring 2014

Dr. Paula R. Backscheider
9082 Haley Center
(334) 844-9091
Office Hours: Thursday, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.


LAND OF LIBERTY, LAND OF SLAVERY: Eighteenth-Century British Writers Look at Captivity and Conquest in Love and War

This is a transatlantic studies seminar that explores the consequences of the developing imperial mentality in Great Britain especially as it influenced the treatment of subject peoples including women.  Special topics will include novels about North America written by British journalists and fiction writers, imperialism as a technology of gender, and the ways writers of popular culture and propaganda contributed to the British abolition movement.  By the date of the last readings in the seminar, 1/4 of the world's population was under British control, and Great Britain was close to achieving the status of "the sun never sets on the British Empire." At the theatre, audiences stood and sang, "Britannia rules the waves,/ .../ Britons never, never shall be slaves," and oceans make up 71% of the earth's surface.  Great Britain was the greatest slave trading nation in the history of the world while celebrating its Magna Carta, the most important document in the history of democracy.  Among the authors to be studied are Daniel Defoe, Sarah Lennox, George Colman, William Cowper, and Letitia Barbauld, and theorists include Stuart Hall, Susan Bordo, Savir Kaul, and  Gayle Rubin. Short written assignments, reports, and a seminar paper.

Required Texts:

  • The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson by Edward Kimber (Broadview, 2009). ISBN: 978-1-55111-703-4
  • Colonel Jack by Daniel Defoe (Kessinger, 2004). ISBN: 1-4191-1356-9
  • The History of Emily Montague by Frances Brooke (McClelland & Stewart/New Canadian Library, 2008). ISBN: 978-0-7710-9351-7
  • The Dialogic Imagination by Mikhail Bakhtin (U. of Texas, 1982). ISBN: 978-0-292-71534-9
  • Euphemia by Charlotte Lennox (Broadview, 2008). ISBN: 9781551116181

Jan. 14:  Introduction - Edward Kimber, The History of Mr. Anderson

21: +Selection from Linda Colley, Britons, 132-145; +Stuart Hall, "Signification, Representation, Ideology," pp. 106-113; + Gayle Rubin, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the `Political Economy’ of Sex”; +excerpt from “The horror, the horror”

 28:  Daniel Defoe, Col. Jack; Stephen H. Gregg, +"Colonel Jack and the Perils of Delusion" from Defoe's Writing and Manliness 

Feb. 4:  Col. Jack continued; + Kathleen Wilson, "The Crisis: Radicalism, Loyalism and the American War" from The Sense of the People, pp. 236-84; +Mary Chudleigh, "To the Ladies"

11:  Charlotte Lennox, Euphemia 

18: Euphemia continued; first expert reports.

25: Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, Essays 1 and 4.

Mar. 4: Elizabeth Inchbald, Every One Has His Faults (1793 edition; ECCO); +excerpt from Timothy Brennan, "The National Longing for Form" from Nation and Narration, ed. Homi Bhabha, pp. 49-56; +Susan Bordo, “From Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and Body

18:  Frances Brooke, History of Emily Montague; Reports.

25:  Reports continued; +Suvir Kaul, excerpt from "Introduction" and Chapter 5 of Poems of Nation, Anthems of Empire with "conversation" reports

Apr. 1: +Mary Robinson, Lines on hearing it declared and Linnet's Petition; +Anna Letitia Barbauld, Epistle to William Wilberforce and Summer Evening's Meditation; +William Cowper, Sonnet to William Wilberforce, Esq.

8:  +Barbauld, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven

15:  +Barbauld; reports on poem pairs

22: Reports on poem pairs

Research Reports; papers due.