Faculty Colloquium Series: Ira Dworkin

“Nicholas Said, the Civil War, and the Emergence of African American Narrative”

Tuesday, 6 March 2018, 4-5 p.m.
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building
The paper is available to members of the Center’s listserv, or by contacting the Glasscock Center by phone at (979) 845-8328 or by e-mail at glasscock@tamu.edu.

Ira Dworkin | Assistant Professor, Department of English, 2017-2018 Glasscock Internal Faculty Fellow

Abstract
This project examines the literary career of Nicholas Said, a Muslim man from Bornu (near Lake Chad in present-day northeastern Nigeria), who was enslaved in Africa, Europe, and Asia before arriving in the United States in 1860 as a freed person, where he volunteered for the 55th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War. This paper attempts to reconcile the popular appeal of Said’s Americanness, which facilitated the publication of his autobiography in the Atlantic Monthly in 1867, with his text which has little to say about his Civil War service. Said’s disidentification with the United States opens up space for him to inscribe himself more substantively as an African Muslim subject, which in turn productively disrupts the established formulations of nineteenth-century American literature.

The Faculty Colloquium offers faculty an opportunity to discuss a work-in-progress with colleagues from different disciplines. By long-standing practice, colloquium presenters provide a draft of their current research, which is made available to members of the Glasscock Center listserv. Each colloquium begins with the presenter’s short (10-15 minute) exposition of the project, after which the floor is open for comments and queries. The format is by design informal, conversational, and interdisciplinary.

The Glasscock Center extends a warm invitation to faculty and students to join in a discussion of Professor Dworkin’s work-in-progress. The paper is available to members of the Center’s listserv, or by contacting the Glasscock Center by phone at (979) 845-8328 or by e-mail at glasscock@tamu.edu. To join the Center’s listserv and receive regular notices of colloquia and other events, please register at http://bit.ly/2xn65yR.

Please note that this is not a lecture, and thus, is not suited for class attendance. The Colloquium Series is intended to provide the presenter with a forum to discuss his/her research and receive feedback from people who have already read his/her paper.