Readings for this Week


This week, we’ll consider two contexts of Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson: slavery in the U.S. and racial constructions of identity.

Have you ever wondered how slavery was justified on philosophical, moral, and religious grounds? This week, please read the documents in The Nineteenth Century American “Conversation” on Slavery: Arguments in Support of Slavery for examples of such justifications. Pay attention to when each argument was published and on what rhetorical grounds each author makes his argument about slavery.

This week, we’ll think about the way we think about race. As we consider Mark Twain’s novel, we’ll explore the following sites, which were put together by the legal department at the University of Dayton:

Ian F. Haney Lopez, What is Race?

Ian Lopez Haney, White by Law

Ian Haney Lopez, The Racial Classification Cases

D. Marvin Jones, “Race, Sex, and Suspicion”


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