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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Slave Narratives and Visual Culture—This piece considers the operations of the visual elements within first-generation American slave narratives. The texts surveyed begin with Equiano’s Interesting Narrative (1797) and ends with John Barber’s A History of the Amistad Captives (1840). Special emphasis is given to the consideration of how new and evolving reproductive technologies, and lithography and photography in particular, were utilized in the slave narratives. A central concern is the extent to which slave narratives knowingly interrogated and subverted visual conventions, which had earlier been evolved to celebrate white male authors. In this context, the ingenious innovations of female portraiture within key texts by Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and William and Ellen Craft are revealed to express potent satiric and radical elements.

Keywords: visual culture, slave narrative, lithography, photograph, female slave portraiture, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman

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