Robert Fanuzzi St. John's University he proposition that Lydia Maria Child's lifelong literary and political antislavery advocacy belongs to us and to the social justice aspirations we nourish for twenty-first-century academic literary scholarship is both a selfserving claim of literary conservatorship and a potentially disruptive change in the way we use periodization. Child's rediscovery in the 1990s, I submit, maximized a potential within women's studies literary recoveries by making it impossible to screen the nineteenth century's racial and anti-racist history from the practices and instruments of our own knowledge production. Since, or because of, Child's recovery, the American nineteenth century has changed for us, so that it is no longer a mummified object but an unfinished past that continues to unfold amid our contemporary injustices and demands the full measure of our scholarship, teaching, and institutional citizenship.1 What has brought us to this juncture, in which the proper consideration of Lydia Maria Child's aspirations for her antislavery literature includes our profession's aspirations for social justice? Carolyn Karcher's 1994 recovery of Child helped to create a temporal feedback loop in which we are able to recognize the occasion and setting for nineteenth-century literary scholarship in the riots, the criminal
Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 20, 2017
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