Slavery and the Transnational Reinvention of Form


ACLS Fellowship Program


English and African American Studies


Slavery and the Transnational Reinvention of Form traces contemporary ideas of the global to the Atlantic slave narrative, in order to rethink race and racial formation in a global frame. To understand forms of freedom and bondage today—from unlawful detention to sex trafficking, debt bondage, genocide, and coerced migration—this project reads a vast range of contemporary literature, showing how the literary forms used to tell these stories derive from the antebellum genre of the slave narrative. Exploring the ethics and aesthetics of globalism, the project foregrounds alternative conceptions of human rights, showing that the revival and proliferation of slave narratives offers not just a chance to rethink the legacy of slavery itself, but also to assess its ongoing relation to empire, race, and capital.