English 166

Special Topics: Slavery and Conspiracy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2017 Wagner, Bryan
MWF 3-4 258 Dwinelle American Literature
African American Literature
Literary Theory
Special Topics

Book List

Delany, M.: Blake; or, The Huts of America (Ed. J. McGann); Grandin, G.: Empire of Necessity; Gray, T.: Confessions of Nat Turner; Jordan, W.: Tumult and Silence at Second Creek; Lepore, J.: New York Burning; Melville, H.: Benito Cereno; Walker, D.: Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World

Other Readings and Media

Lemuel Paker Conner, Testimony of Fourteen Slaves Relative to a Proposed Slave Uprising in Adams County, Mississippi.

Amasa Delano, Narrative of Voyages and Travels in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, Comprising Three Voyages around the World.

Daniel Horsmanden, The Journal of the Proceedings in the Detection of the Conspiracy . . . . for Burning the City of NEW-YORK

James Hamilton, Negro Plot: An Account of the Late Intended Insurrection Among a Portion of the Blacks of the City of Charleston.

Lionel Kennedy, An Official Report of the Trials of Sundry Negroes, Charged with an Attempt to Raise an Insurrection in the State of South Carolina.

"Proces contre les Esclaves du Poste”, from Original Acts of Pointe Coupee (available in manuscript, French transcription, and English translation).


This is a multidisciplinary seminar on the law and literature of slave conspiracy. We will be reading novels and stories by authors such as Martin Delany and Herman Melville alongside contemporary newspapers, confessions, warrants, witness depositions, and trial transcripts. We will also be reading history and theory by Peter Brooks, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Jill Lepore, Michel-Rolph Trouillot, and Gordon Wood. Students will choose between writing a research paper (20-25 pages) and working on a collaborative digital project related to one of the conspiracies covered in the course.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Gothic Duncan, Ian
166/2 Special Topics: Marxism and Literature Gonzalez, Marcial
166/4 Special Topics: Poetry and Prose of Race and Social Class Giscombe, Cecil S.
166/5 Special Topics: Asian American Literature - World, Nation, Locality Leong, Andrew Way
166/6 Special Topics: Realism, Then and Now Cordes Selbin, Jesse
166/7 Special Topics: Anton Chekhov Muza, Anna
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/2 Special Topics: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
166/3 Special Topics: Journeys: British World-Building, c. 700-1700 Miller, Jasmin
166/4 Special Topics: "this morning's minion": Sonic Mysticism in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson Stancek, Claire Marie
166/5 Special Topics Le, Serena
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Comedy & Violence Flynn, Catherine
166/2 Special Topics: Romantic Science Goldstein, Amanda Jo
166/3 Special Topics: Classical & Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey
166/4 Special Topics: Marxism & Literature Lye, Colleen
166/5 Special Topics: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
166/6 Special Topics: Speculative Fiction Jones, Donna V.
Summer, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Speculative Fictions, Possible Futures O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
166/2 Special Topics: Games of Thrones, Medieval to Modern Strub, Spencer
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/3 Special Topics: Black Science Fiction Serpell, C. Namwali
166/4 Special Topics: Writing Poetry and Nonfiction, Writing as Social Practice Giscombe, Cecil S.
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Marxism and Literature Lye, Colleen
166/2 Special Topics: Studies in Literature and Environment (Shelter and Weather) Francois, Anne-Lise
166/4 Special Topics: Literature in the Century of Film Goble, Mark
166/5 Special Topics: Modern Irish Literature Falci, Eric

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