Robert Fanuzzi's Abolition's Public Sphere PDF

African American Studies

By Robert Fanuzzi

ISBN-10: 0816640890

ISBN-13: 9780816640898

ISBN-10: 0816640904

ISBN-13: 9780816640904

Echoes of Thomas Paine and Enlightenment idea resonate in the course of the abolitionist circulation and within the efforts of its leaders to create an anti-slavery interpreting public. In Abolition's Public Sphere Robert Fanuzzi significantly examines the writings of William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and Sarah and Angelina Grimke and their sizeable abolition exposure campaign-pamphlets, newspapers, petitions, and public gatherings-geared to an viewers of white male electorate, unfastened black noncitizens, ladies, and the enslaved. together with provocative readings of Thoreau's Walden and of the symbolic house of Boston's Faneuil corridor, Abolition's Public Sphere demonstrates how abolitionist public discourse sought to reenact eighteenth-century situations of revolution and democracy within the antebellum period. Fanuzzi illustrates how the dissemination of abolitionist tracts served to create an "imaginary public" that promoted and provoked the dialogue of slavery. even though, by way of embracing Enlightenment abstractions of liberty, cause, and growth, Fanuzzi argues, abolitionist technique brought aesthetic matters that challenged political associations of the general public sphere and triumphing notions of citizenship. Insightful and thought-provoking, Abolition's Public Sphere questions general models of abolitionist historical past and, within the approach, our knowing of democracy itself. Robert Fanuzzi is an affiliate professor of English at St. John's collage, long island.

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Extra info for Abolition's Public Sphere

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These questions, I hope, arise from the signature conceit of the abolitionists’ public sphere—its symbolic standing as a historical institution— and become more pressing as my analysis uncovers their manipulation of historical signiWers. They originate in the historical inquiry of the Wrst four chapters of the book, which, in sequence, depict a public that existed on the condition of its invisibility, the public attribution of an individual voice, the republican attributes of a black man’s body, and, in XL – INTRODUCTION chapter 4, the materialization of a trope of public space.

With this paciWst theory, he sought an outcast status for the abolition that corresponded to an anachronistic ideal of a critical public but that also identiWed them with and as the oppressed. The racial politics of this ambition can be glimpsed in Garrison’s defense of the abolitionists’ publicity campaign that he submitted to the state legislature of Massachusetts in 1836. The legislature was then considering imposing its own ban on the distribution of abolitionist publications, setting up a confrontation between state power and the libertarian principles of free discussion that Garrison would soon dramatize in the theory of nonresistance.

Whereas power had been embodied in a monarchical subject, which in turn gave society its own body, the public sphere of democracy ensures that the “social space of politics” will remain an “empty place . . ”26 Armed with the premises of a political theorist, Garrison could see the evidence of this tyranny in the popular opposition to abolitionist discussion, in the state-sponsored suppression of abolitionist petitions, 10 – THE SEDITION OF NONRESISTANCE and ultimately within the conWnes of the abolition movement itself.

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Abolition's Public Sphere by Robert Fanuzzi


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