A Canada in the South: Maroons in American Literature


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




“A Canada in the South” examines representations of maroons—enslaved people who fled bondage and took refuge in remote places like swamps, forests, and mountains—in a wide array of mostly African American literary texts from the 1830s through the early 1860s. It seeks to understand how marronage as both discursive and material practice invites reconsiderations of commonplace notions of freedom and unfreedom as they have been tied to a sectional US geography and narratives of freedom via the Underground Railroad. In short, the project argues that literary representations of maroons offer glimpses into alternative, unexpected, radical forms of freedom in the processes of being and becoming that do not depend upon recourse by, or intervention of, official state apparatuses. Instead, marronage illuminates novel formations of Black community, sociality, mobility, and freedom.