113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

Narrating Racial Time in the Nineteenth-Century U.S.

Session Chair: 
Molly Ball, Eureka College
Session 4: Friday 3:50-5:20pm
Executive Suite (PH-ET)


  1. Ann Abrams, NYU
    This paper looks at Frederick Douglass’s use of  the phrase “Anglo-Saxon” in his writings from the 1840s and argues that Douglass thought about learning to read, write, and publish as means to combat the racist temporality inherent to the pervasive, folkloric metanarrative of Anglo-Saxonism. 
  2. Ryan Wander, University of California at Davis
    This paper argues that London and Norris’ naturalist fiction portrays the geography and cultures of the North American West’s rural and urban spaces as producers of non-progressive temporalities that tend toward repetition, decline, and death—temporalities that, crucially, hinder the consolidation of “American” racial and national identity.
  3. Erica Onugha, University of California, Los Angeles
    Elizabeth Keckley displays her “hardworking temporality” by narrating scenes in which she volunteers her working time in her autobiography Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House (1868). These scenes bolster her implicit claim that former slaves, especially black working women, are heirs to two fundamental American characteristics, self-reliance and hard work, and consequently are essential to rebuilding the postwar nation. 
  4. Janet Neary, "Hunter College, CUNY"
    This paper examines the economic and legal fortunes of African Americans in the West during the Gold Rush as they are represented in James Williams’s postbellum narrative, Life and Adventures of James Williams (1873), arguing that the narrative’s disjunctive form and shifting temporality addresses itself to what Edlie Wong calls the “belated temporality of racial equality.” 
Session Cancelled: