• Black Dogs, Bloodhounds, and Best Friends African Americans and Dogs in Nineteenth-Century Abolitionist Literature

    Brigitte Fielder (see profile)
    Animals--Study and teaching, Slavery, Race
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Harriet Beecher Stowe, Racialization, Human-Animal Studies, Animal studies, Abolition
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    “This essay will explore the different appearances of dogs in Stowe’s novel in order to suss out the contradictions inherent in the comparisons of enslaved African Americans to dogs and their various relationships to them. Reading Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin for both its importance as an abolitionist literary phenomenon as well as for the ways it is representative of the most common ways we see dogs depicted in abolitionist literature, I focus on this text as an exemplar of the way dogs operated in simultaneous and even contradictory ways as antislavery writers depicted their relations to enslaved, black people. Abolitionist arguments that decry black people treated ‘like dogs,’ depictions of bloodhounds employed in slave-hunting, and black people’s relationships with familiar dogs as pets point to the competing, yet complexly-related resonances of dogs in abolitionist literature. When the complexity, variety, and contradictions of dogs’ relationships to enslaved people in abolitionist literature are taken into account, we see a fuller human-animal landscape than one that focuses on African American people’s dehumanization. While the dehumanization of African American people is, undoubtedly, an important factor in the history of racial oppression, the multifaceted comparisons and relations of black people to animals presents a fuller picture of how both oppression and resistance occurred in a landscape of not just human, but also human-animal relations.”
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    5 years ago
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