Category: american history

+

Harriet Jacobs’ Challenge to the Cult of True Womanhood

A while back, I wrote a post about the ways that Harriet Jacobs, in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, challenges the Cult of True Womanhood. Specifically, she counters it by showing the ways that society denied her the chance to adhere to the four pillars of the Cult of True Womanhood. Thinking about this some more, I want to briefly look … Read More Harriet Jacobs’ Challenge to the Cult of True Womanhood

+

African American Literature and the American Dream Syllabus

Whenever I teach an American literature survey course, the topic of the American Dream inevitably comes up. Typically, I ask students to define this mythological term and they reply with the standard answer, “The American Dream means happiness and success.” I elaborate upon this response by pointing them back, first to the Declaration of Independence, then to other texts. The Declaration states that “life, … Read More African American Literature and the American Dream Syllabus

+

Charlottesville: What do I do in the classroom?

At the end of Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow (1946), Stephen Fox thinks about his son Etienne. The Civil War has just ended, and Stephen ponders what the racism and hate that Etienne carries within himself will bring for the future. Etienne’s feelings and ideas will lead to more bloodshed, more dead bodies, and a stunted progress towards equality. The events in Charlottesville, … Read More Charlottesville: What do I do in the classroom?