Will Nash, Program in American Studies and Department of English and American Literatures, will give a talk as part of the 2019-20 Carol Rifelj Faculty Lecture Series.
The leader of an unsuccessful raid on the Federal Armory at Harper’s Ferry, VA in 1859, John Brown is a complex, enigmatic player in the struggle to end American chattel enslavement. From his appearance on the national scene as a combatant in “Bleeding Kansas” four years before Harper’s Ferry, Brown has been made and re-made in the public imagination according to the ideological needs of groups ranging from 19th-century Transcendentalists to 21st-century leftist gun clubs. This talk explores how Brown has been re-created and deployed as a tool for social commentary in cultural moments from right after his death up to the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally of 2017, seeking in each instance to answer the dual questions “Why John Brown? And “Why now?”
Refreshments will be served.
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