This essay takes as its assumptive backdrop the “Red/White/Black demographic triad” in the sense of Stam and Shohat that resulted from the European colonial conquest and settlement of, and the transatlantic enslavement of Africans in, the Americas. It homes in on the ambivalent functions and effects of different evocations of Indigeneity in early abolitionist discourse, considering this very discourse as a specific strand of settler colonial knowledge production during the era of the Enlightenment. While Euro-American abolitionists around 1800 centrally and critically focused on relations between the positions marked by “Black” and “White,” they also made recourse to the position of “Red.” Paradigmatic readings highlight that abolitionists mobilized Red as a trope in contradictory ways according to their argumentative needs, substantiating the hegemonic character of White self-referential knowledge practices in the early US republic and abetting the justification of settler colonialism.
Bekkaoui, Khalid (2011). White Women Captives in North Africa: Narratives of Enslavement, 1735–1830. Basingstoke and New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cameron, Christopher (2014). To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.
Davis, David Brion (1975). The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770–1823. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Davis, David Brion and Steven Mintz, eds. (1998). The Boisterous Sea of Liberty: A Documentary History of America from Discovery through the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Deloria, Vine, Jr. (1999). “The American Revolution and the American Indian: Problems in the Recovery of a Usable Past.” Barbara Deloria et al., eds. Spirit & Reason: The Vine Deloria, Jr., Reader. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 206–222.
Foucault, Michel (2004). Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège De France, 1975–1976. trans. David Macey. London et al.: Penguin.
Franklin, Benjamin (1760 ). “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &C. Written in Pensylvania, 1751.” The Interest of Great Britain Considered with Regard to Her Colonies and the Acquisitions of Canada and Guadaloupe. Boston, MA: B. Mecom, 52–57.
Gilroy, Paul (1993). The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hartman, Saidiya V. (2008). Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Horne, Gerald (2014). The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (ZAA) is a peer-reviewed quarterly that reflects the entire spectrum of research on English and American language, literature and culture. Particular attention will be paid to the new literatures in English, the development of linguistic varieties outside of Britain and North America and the relationship between anglophone and neighbouring cultural areas.