CFP: [American] Literature and the African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865 (09/15/07; NEMLA, 4/10/08 - 4/13/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Joe Webb
contact email:

The recent digitization of the African Repository, the official journal
of the American Colonization Society, along with a renewed effort to
rescue several nearly-abandoned texts, such as the University of
Michigan’s historical reprint of Sarah Josepha Hale’s novel Liberia, has
allowed for an explosion of scholarship in the study of the intersections
of literature and the African colonization movement. This panel seeks to
provide a discussion forum for some of the issues raised by this new
scholarly explosion. In particular, it hopes to examine, from a variety
of perspectives, the ways in which the rhetoric and propaganda of the ACS
influenced antebellum literature: from that of the
white “philanthropists,” in texts like Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or
Hale’s Liberia; from that of the colonists themselves, in the poetry and
letters that filled the ACS’s African Repository; from the vantage-point
of the black separatists, in, for example, Delany’s Blake; or from the
opposition writings of abolitionist-integrationists. Hundreds of free
blacks lost their lives in the dangerous eastward passage across the
Atlantic Ocean, and thousands more in the inhospitable climate, on the
infertile soil, of Liberia. It is the belief of this organizer that the
events which led to these deaths demand critical scholarly examination.
If, in our collective work on the antebellum colonization of Liberia, we
can outline the manipulative ways that information and opinions have been
controlled and disseminated to the public in the past, then we will be
better able to stave off the disastrous consequences that such a
propaganda bottleneck might bring in the future. This panel is, as are
other articles, books, and lectures like it, a small part of that
process. Send 300 word abstracts by September 15 to Joe Webb, Saint
Louis University:

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Received on Tue Aug 14 2007 - 12:51:05 EDT

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