March 28th: Who Ain’t A Slave: Slavery, Sealing, & “Free” Trade in Spanish America, or, The Real Story behind Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno”

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Herman Melville’s novella Benito Cereno, published in 1855, between Moby-Dick and the US Civil War, takes place on a Spanish slave ship shortly after its arrival in the bay of a remote Pacific island off the coast of southern Chile. It is told almost entirely from the point of view of Amasa Delano, the captain of a New England sealer already harbored in that bay, who spotted the ship and went on board.

But where Melville meant the story to capture a dilemma specific to the U.S. as it headed toward a war over slavery, this presentation will consider the true events that inspired Melville to explore the meaning of encounters between empires for slavery in all of the Americas during the Age of Revolution.

Thursday March 28, 2013
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Vari Hall C, York University (Keele Campus)

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