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Workshop in the History of Material Texts

Teresa A. Goddu (Vanderbilt), "Antislavery Media"

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Monday, October 11, 2021, 5:15pm, in person and via Zoom*

*For Zoom information, please please contact Aylin Malcolm.

Our speaker writes:

In this talk, drawn from my recent monograph, Selling Antislavery: Abolition and Mass Media in Antebellum America, I discuss the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) as a media, not just reform, organization. I show how its foundational text—the “Catalogue of Publications” of antislavery works for sale at its offices and depositories—names and shapes the movement’s larger institutional forms and practices. The catalogue reflects not only the multimodal nature of the AASS’s media campaign—its circulation of print, material, as well as visual items—but also its linking of form and format. Antislavery understood its media as at once persuasive arguments and marketable commodities. By providing readings of several antislavery texts/objects, I parse how the AASS produced one of the antebellum era’s first mass media by synergizing its discursive, material, and distributional modes.

About our speaker:

Teresa A. Goddu is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Vanderbilt University where she also serves as Faculty Head of E. Bronson Ingram College. A specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and culture, her research focuses on slavery and antislavery, race and American culture, the history of the book, genre studies, as well as print, material, and visual culture. She is the author of Gothic America: Narrative, History, and Nation (Columbia University Press) and, more recently, Selling Antislavery: Abolition and Mass Media in Antebellum America (University of Pennsylvania Press). She is the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar, and a Senior Specialist Fulbright award.

Talks will be held live, in person, in the Class of 78 Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. They will also be available via Zoom (please contact us for details). All are welcome. If you would like to receive details on future talks, please sign up for our listserv using this link or visit the Workshop website.

The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press, Emeritus), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).

Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.

For more information, please contact Aylin Malcolm.