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Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik

A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture

[Journal of English and American Studies]

Ed. by Butter, Michael / Eckstein, Lars / Frenk, Joachim / Georgi-Findlay, Brigitte / Herbst, Thomas / Korte, Barbara / Leypoldt, Günter / Reinfandt, Christoph / Stefanowitsch, Anatol

CiteScore 2018: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.148
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.497

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Volume 65, Issue 2


The Claim of Right to Property: Social Violence and Political Right

Patrice D. Douglass
Published Online: 2017-06-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zaa-2017-0017


This article offers a close reading of The Order of Things by Michael Foucault and The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt, to argue that the positioning of the Human within scientific and political thought necessitates an underscoring of violence as it relates to blackness. This position interrogates how Arendt positions slavery in the Greek polis and the Roman res republica to establish her foci on modern political life. I offer an analysis of Prigg v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as complicating Arendt’s political dichotomy, by shifting focus to the legal history of US American slavery. Prigg rewrites and establishes the demarcations of US Federal and State law. However, the majority opinion and dissents make fleeting reference to the fugitive slave in question, Margaret Morgan, and the possibility that she may have been sexually violated while being forcibly returned to slavery. I conclude that the contours of this case, specifically the erasure of sexual violence, demonstrate how racial slavery provides contexts to modern political life not explored by Arendt’s primary concern with slavery in antiquity.

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About the article

Corresponding author: Patrice D. Douglass, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Justice, Community and Leadership Program, Saint Mary’s College of CA, USA

Published Online: 2017-06-21

Published in Print: 2017-06-27

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Volume 65, Issue 2, Pages 145–159, ISSN (Online) 2196-4726, ISSN (Print) 0044-2305, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zaa-2017-0017.

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