BLOGROLL: Two Visions of Abolition and Emancipation #OAH18

Evan Turïano reports on #OAH2018 panels, including the “State of the Field: Abolition and Emancipation” for Muster:

Roger Taney’s (empty) bust in Baltimore

“In a question posed from the audience, Thavolia Glymph, Professor of History at Duke University, expressed shock that the state of the field was such that “Does emancipation matter?” was still an open question. She received the first applause of the session. From the panel, Manisha Sinha echoed Glymph’s frustrations. She questioned some of Stephen Kantrowitz’s earlier points, urging that the study of American imperialism cannot be allowed to undercut our recognition of abolition’s radicalism. Kantrowitz acknowledged that the focus on Reconstruction’s failures has created a somewhat troubling trend in public-facing history, the idea that, “slavery didn’t end, it just changed.” He points specifically to Ava DuVernay’s award winning 2016 documentary 13th as evidence that much of the public has lost sight of the transformative aspects of emancipation. A division was clear, and an audience question from Richard Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, laid it out in concrete terms: Does focusing on emancipation in relation to Reconstruction mean that we under-study what came before? When we look at the shortcomings of Reconstruction, do we lose sight of the processes behind abolition and emancipation?”

Source: Two Visions of Abolition and Emancipation: An OAH “State of the Field” Roundtable – The Journal of the Civil War Era

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