lecture notes








try to return by Friday

if not Friday, sometime over weekend

Welcome to reply, confer,


or just come to class next Monday--more reaction then + preview Final Exam

attitude check: difficult, demanding exams


not graded on perfection but on meeting requirements and making progress


are we learning? temptation to want praise and congratulations for what we already know


old teacher can just teach what taught before and get by


but always sensitive to criticism of our discipline from conservatives or scientists: "they just teach them what to think (and reward them for agreeing)"


liberal arts education as "indoctrination"


agreed: desire to understand the world, society, and how it works--literary people step out of the world to see it better


but danger of just echoing each other, reflexive, fixed attitudes about a world that's always changing--my own sensitivity



priorities for students > instructor


1. literature as meaning, identity, affirmation (but conflict and resolution in stories) minority


2. > literary devices: much harder to teach, require discipline, training, repetitions


3. > literary and cultural history: many literature students prefer literature as "timeless"


First priority changes rapidly, attitudes and experiences shift


2nd two more permanent, more factual, more of a bedrock of knowledge you can build on


What is human?





should have emphasized Virgin of Guadalupe as origin story

slave narratives as origin story

red and blue families

American innocence, America as Eden

original sin






trust in knowledge leading to understanding, shared humanity



Thomas B. Edsall, "The Contract with Authoritarianism." New York Times 5 April 2018.


[In 1996], George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at Berkeley, published “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think,” which argued that

Deeply embedded in conservative and liberal politics are two different models of the family. Conservatism is based on a Strict Father model, while liberalism is centered on a Nurturant Parent model. These two models of the family give rise to different moral systems.

Several approaches to contemporary politics echo the insights of Sipple and Lakoff. The crucial word now, however, is authoritarianism.

The election of Donald Trump — built as it was on several long-term trends that converged in 2016 — has created an authoritarian moment. This somewhat surprising development is the subject of “Remaking Partisan Politics through Authoritarian Sorting,” a forthcoming book by the political scientists Christopher Federico, Stanley Feldman and Christopher Weber, who argue that

Three trends — polarization, media change, and the rise of what many people see as threats to the traditional social order — have contributed to a growing divide within American politics. It is a divide between those who place heavy value on social order and cohesion relative to those who value personal autonomy and independence.

The three authors use a long-established authoritarian scale — based on four survey questions about which childhood traits parents would like to see in their offspring — that asks voters to choose between independence or respect for their elders; curiosity or good manners; self-reliance or obedience; and being considerate or well-behaved. Those respondents who choose respect for elders, good manners, obedience and being well-behaved are rated more authoritarian.

The authors found that in 1992, 62 percent of white voters who ranked highest on the authoritarian scale supported George H.W. Bush. In 2016, 86 percent of the most authoritarian white voters backed Trump, an increase of 24 percentage points.

Federico, Feldman and Weber conclude that

Authoritarianism is now more deeply bound up with partisan identities. It has become part and parcel of Republican identity among non-Hispanic white Americans.

Last year, Federico, writing with Christopher Johnston of Duke and Howard G. Lavine of the University of Minnesota, published “Open versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution,” which also explores the concept of authoritarian voting.

In an email, Johnston summarized some of their findings:

Over the last few decades, party allegiances have become increasingly tied to a core dimension of personality we call “openness.” Citizens high in openness value independence, self-direction, and novelty, while those low in openness value social cohesion, certainty, and security. Individual differences in openness seem to underpin many social and cultural disputes, including debates over the value of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, law and order, and traditional values and social norms.
















Equiano notes

1.4 luxuries few (cf. Woolman); cf. plain style

1.7 beauty relative

1.9 one Creator

1.11, 1.12 cf. Jews > Amerinds

1.14 limiting the goodness of God [universalism]

2.3 local / tribal culture [kidnappers]

2.6 loss / sorrow

2.7 metal working

2.10 snakes in garden

2.12 different languages

2.12-13 sister and loss

2.14 money shells

2.14-15 old world slavery, extended family

2.17 different cultures, Western influence, change in women's status; no sacrifices or offerings (cf. patriarch 1.12)

2.19 slave ship, bad spirits

2.21 contrast Crevecoeur

2.22 technology as magic

2.23 x-Enlightened capitalism

2.27 assimilation to Af Am

3.3 voice, speech contrast Declaration, 1st Amendment

3.4 technology (watch)

3.7 learning English

3.15-16 church and literacy

3.16 talk to the books

3.19 limits on assimilation

4.1-2 literacy and religion

4.2 a Guide to the Indians

4.3-4 loss

4.5 written laws

4.5 dreams of freedom

4.6b talked too much English

5.3 West Indies slavery

5.7-8 wealth creation

5.10 depradations & reversal; white men on black women; black man and white prostitute

5.13 all men created equal; conditions change--slavery bad for whites too

6.3 capitalism

6.6-7 state of free negro

6.8 learning navigation

6.10 trading to buy freedom

6.11 navigation helps unexpectedly

6.14 price of freedom (not born)

6.17 Charlestown

7.1 natural wonder

7.2 Quakers

7.2b Great Awakening

7.4a-b contract, 7.7 written manumission

8.4 law

8.6 I talked too good English

10.1b primitive Christians; cf. Pilgrims

10.2 Conversion of an Indian

10.4 cf. Woolman on sailors

10.6 an unsealed book (literacy?)

12.3 common nature

12.3 light, liberty, science

12.8 economic interests against slavery, grow market







Phillips letter [2] cf. Fuller

1.3 father white man, whispered

1.3 part mothers from children, blunt and destroy natural affection

1.4 see me in the night

1.5 profitable as well as pleasurable

1.7 very different-looking class of people

1.11blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery

2.4 night as slave’s time

2.7, 2.11 double language

3.1-2 garden excludes slaves

3.5 never utter a word

3.7 penalty of telling the truth

4.2-4.5 chiasmus

5.3 evolutionary / capitalist metaphor

5.9 white face, kindly emotions

6.1 by trade a weaver [class]

6.5 literacy, white man’s power to enslave black man

6.6 chiasmus

6.7 city over town, anti-romance

7.2 slavery as injurious to her

7.3 slavery and education incompatible

7.5 bread of knowledge

7.6-7 anti-slavery + Catholic emancipation

7.8 slavers as robbers, gone to Africa (contrast immigrant)

7.11 Irishmen

7.13 copy-book as board fence

8.2 all ranked together

8.9 brandy and slavery

8.11 knowledge to run away

9.2 Methodist camp meeting, 2nd Great Awakening

9.4 learn to read New Testament, broke up

9.7 Covey a professor of religion

10A.1 Covey as “the snake” + 2 power to deceive

10B.2 cf. Emerson

10C.1 chiasmus

10D. Sandy as root doctor

10D.7 turning point in career as slave

10D.8 glorious resurrection from tomb of slavery

10E slaves’ holidays

10E.3 vicious dissipation

10F.2 no pretensions to religion; religion of the south

10G.1 SabbathSchool: learn to read the will of God

10G.3 society of my fellow-slaves

10G.7 Patrick Henry, liberty or death

10H.5 cf. law enforcement

10H.6 yellow mulatto devil

10H.10 slave traders as pirates

10H.13 stone prison to Baltimore (reality x romance)

10i.3 class / race conflict

10i.7 Mrs. Auld

10J.3 money to master

11.3 underground railroad

11.5 continued to think

11.7 camp meeting

11.8 civil disobedience

11.13 leave escape unexplained

11.18 marriage ceremony

11.22 change my name

11.23 absence of slaves > wealth

11.28 starting point of new existence, now my own master, such was the strength of prejudice

A.2 slaveholding religion