Visiting Regional Faculty Fellow: Lisa M. Corrigan
Professor of Communication, Director of the Gender Studies Program, University of Arkansas

"Feeling Abolition: John Brown, Gerrit Smith, and Dissociative Whiteness"

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This lecture focuses on the sensorial politics surrounding prominent antebellum abolitionists, John Brown and Gerrit Smith, to understand how racialized feelings were instrumental in producing emergent white subjectivities. In particular, the language of mania, egoism, and madness were used to describe the psycho-social discomfort that aggressive abolitionists like Brown and Smith were creating for white Americans across the country as they pursued the abolition of slavery. This language was part of the emotional-political economy of antebellum America and it created the conditions for “dissociative whiteness,” a process that produced alienating affects of whiteness as both psychic and social processes within and among white people. In doing so, aggressive abolitionists like Brown and Smith offered models of transgressive whiteness that propelled abolition and transformed the country as it marched towards war.
Dr. Lisa M. Corrigan is an Associate Professor of Communication, Director of the Gender Studies Program, Affiliate Faculty in both African & African American Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of Arkansas, and author of Prison Power: How Prison Politics Influenced the Movement for Black Liberation (2016) and Black Feelings: Race and Affect in the Long Sixties (2020).
  • Lael Rixson

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