Human Rights Discourse in Antebellum America

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2017, Baltimore, March 23-26
contact email: 

This panel will explore the presence of eighteenth-century human rights discourse in antebellum American culture. We will have two goals: first, to seek persistences of eighteenth-century human rights theory even as it was eclipsed by discourses of Nationalism, European Imperialism, Anglo-Saxonism, scientific racism, economic determinism, and so on in the nineteenth century; second, to articulate the relationship of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism to the forces that would stifle it during the period between the American/French Revolutions and the post-WWII resurgence of human rights.


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