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Seminar: "On Agency and Material Life"

Thursday, October 10, 2013
12:00 AM
1014 Tisch Hall

Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies <br> Thursday Speaker Series <br> Walter Johnson, Harvard University

Note: RSVP required. Details below.

Seminar features Walter Johnson (presenter, Harvard University), Tiya Miles (commentator, University of Michigan), Rebecca J. Scott (commentator, University of Michigan), and Jay Cook (chair, University of Michigan). 

Attendance is limited, and RSVPs will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis by contacting Pre-circulated readings will be distributed upon confirmation of RSVP. Room capacity limits will be strictly enforced at this event. This event is free.

Featured Guest: Walter Johnson's work focuses on slavery, capitalism, and, increasingly, imperialism in the nineteenth century. His first book, Soul by Soul (1999) used the slave market as a way to think about the fantasies, fears, negotiations, and violence that characterized American slavery. Since then, he has written a series of essays about social and historical theory relating to the history of slavery in the U.S.: on the idea of "agency" as the organizing theme of scholarship; on notions of time; on theories of capitalism and slavery; and on the idea of reparations for slavery as a historical narrative. Most importantly, he has written a history of the Mississippi Valley between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War entitled River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Imperialism in the Mississippi Valley (2013). While retaining a focus on the immediate experience of slavery and mastery, this book also embeds the history of slavery in the United States in the histories of global capitalism and American imperialism. He is currently writing a book about the 1841 revolt aboard the slave ship Creole. Walter Johnson received his B.A. from Amherst College and his doctorate from Princeton University. Before coming to Harvard, he taught History and American Studies at New York University.

This program is part of the Thursday Speaker Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.