Common-place devotes its entire July issue to a deep and multi-faceted look at the tangled roots of race and slavery in the United States. "There is little doubt," historian Shane White writes in this special number, "that ‘race’ is the American issue, the one that saturates the nation’s past and continues to bedevil its present." From philosopher Aaron Garrett's assessment of the recent ups and downs of Thomas Jefferson's reputation, to art historian Cheryl Finley's meditation on Black Americans' journeys "back" to Africa as cultural heritage tourists, this issue of Common-place asks readers to consider the present in the past--and vice versa.
For this special issue, we invited people who make portraying and analyzing American slavery their lives' work--from interpreters to historians and novelists--to probe the special challenges of their subject: the difficulties of seeing slavery, hearing slavery, filming slavery, and writing about slavery. The issue also introduces a new genre of reviews, "Re-readings," where some of today's leading scholars consider the ways that the great works of past decades still speak to them: Kathleen Brown reconsiders Edmund Morgan's classic, American Slavery, American Freedom, and Walter Johnson looks at Eugene Genovese's controversial Roll, Jordan, Roll. Regular Common-place columns in this issue track American slavery through the archives, on archaeological digs, into the classroom, and more.
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