Academic journal article Early American Studies

From the Editor

Academic journal article Early American Studies

From the Editor

Article excerpt

Sometimes issues of Early American Studies take on a life of their own. Such is the case with the Fall 2011 issue. Without any advance planning, without a deliberate nod to the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the Civil War, six of the ten articles in this very weighty issue focus on aspects of race or slavery. Two essays deal specifically with race and its intersection with language. Another is concerned with the way race played out in eighteenthcentury education. Not to be overlooked, art, literature, and politics weave in and out of the articles in this issue. It seems that little, if anything, has been overlooked.

Essays by Richard Dunn and David Waldstreicher involve individual enslaved women. Dunn's Winney Grimshaw is not as familiar to us as Phillis Wheatley, but her story and that of her family remind us that the ability to reconstruct the life of a formerly unknown slave advances our knowledge of the master-slave relationship from an inverse perspective. Waldstreicher's Wheatley is more of a political activist than the woman others have portrayed, an interpretation that adds another dimension to this extraordinary person.

Katharine Gerbner sees the earliest Quaker antislavery documents as a communal effort, and she argues that the long-standing antislavery debate among Quakers was as much a political show as a principled stand. Moreover, the controversy saw George Keith take a polemical position that put him at odds with other members of the Society of Friends. Jessica Stern looks at the writing of another seventeenth-century radical, Roger Williams, a man who was convinced (despite his experience in the Pequot War) that religious toleration could be achieved in early America. …

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