Monday, May 1, 2017

Week Six: Backgrounds for Kindred

Tuesday Meeting

Today we begin exploring the novel Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. This novel is partly set in Maryland before the American Civil War. To really understand the kind of world Dana, our protagonist, is time-traveling to, we need to do a bit of research on slavery in the United States.
“Caution!! Colored People of Boston” Anti-Slavery Poster (1851)
from The Boston Public Library

The modern epoch was founded on European imperialism and African slavery. Both these systems were organized racially. The theft of labor and life, of land and resources, from millions of Africans and Native Americans, and from Asians and Pacific Islanders as well,  financed the rise of Europe and made possible both its subsequent mercantilism and its later industrialism. Conquest, imperial rule, and the chattelization of labor (principally but not entirely African labor) divided humanity into Europeans and "others." Ferocious and unending cultural and psychic energies were expended to sustain this schism, which was also constantly challenged and undermined in innumerable ways.
   --Howard Winant. New Politics of Race : Globalism, Difference, Justice: 205.

A. Background for Kindred I: Slavery in the United States

Part I:
  1. On the list below, find the topic that matches your assigned number
    1. Punishment 
    2. Slave Breeding
    3. House Slaves 
    4. Field Slaves 
    5. Education  
    6. Family Life  
    7. Whipping

    2. Visit the Spartacus Educational site Slavery in the United States at Scroll down until you see the topic “Slave Life.” Click on your topic.
    3. Read the entire page for your topic. On a piece of paper, summarize what you have read in about 250 words.

    Part II:
    I will put you in a group so all seven aspects of slavery are represented. Take about 2 minutes to tell the others what you have learned, using the summary to help you remember key ideas. The point is to acquire as much general information about slavery as possible in a short period of time. As you listen, write down the ideas that made the strongest impression on you.

    B. Background for Kindred II: The Legacy of Slavery and Its Discontents

    We will discuss Butler's background as part of her motivation to write the novel:

    From Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper (2000): 38.
    Image from Rad Geek People's Daily

    Online Work for Week Six
    Note: items marked with an asterisk will count as your hour of online attendance for Week Six.

    Tuesday, May 8 by 9:00AM:
    1. Quiz: "The Fight" on Blackboard
    2.  *Journal 6 (Kindred--"The Fight" II-sections 11-16)
    In preparation to receive you midterm grade, please review the Grading Plan on pages 3-4 of the class packet: