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Racial Enlightenment

ENGL 593.401
instructor(s):

This course examines eighteenth-century writings on race in the Enlightenment period, with a focus on natural history, philosophy, and aesthetic theory.  We will explore topics including cultural and species distinction, global circulations of commodities between the East and West Indies, the transatlantic slave trade, the casta system of racial classification in the Americas, religious and scientific explanations of blackness, and visual representations of exotic others.  Readings will include scientific texts by Linnaeus, Maupertuis, Buffon, and Blumenbach; philosophies and aesthetic theories of Rousseau, Burke, and Kant; accounts of slavery by Edward Long; and key literary texts such as Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.