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David Luis-Brown
Claremont Graduate University (Claremont, CA 91711-5909)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015

Slave Rebellion and Social Identity in Cuba and the U.S. during the 1840s and 1850s

Summer research and writing on American and Latin American Literature, and American Studies.

Blazing at Midnight analyzes the uses of slave rebellion in constructing social identity and charting blueprints of post-emancipation societies at moments of historical crisis in Cuba and the United States in the 1840s and 1850s. I argue that at times of political impasse, a wide range of social groups--nonslaveholding whites, novelists, Cuban exiles, travel writers, and slaves--recalibrated political ideals and ethical priorities by thinking through the significance of the slave rebel as a model for alternative social arrangements. The figure of the slave rebel galvanized U.S. anti-slavery advocates following the Fugitive Slave Act, rural whites in both countries, and renegade Cuban exiles in New York, who began to rethink their racial politics following Narciso Lopez's failed annexationist expedition to Cuba in 1851. All of the chapters in the book examine how debates over the futures of plantation societies revolved around the question of slave rebellion.