Liberty, Pro-Slavery, and Sexual Freedom

  • "The Paradigm of Liberty: American Freedom and the Invitation to Struggle”

     —Kimberly Waddy, Department of International Studies and Political Science

    Kimberly WaddyThis study draws on cognitive dissonance theory and employs a qualitative review of the events surrounding Founding through the history of the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. From a humble European settlement to sovereign global leader, this study demonstrates just how far the structure of American democracy has brought this nation in a relatively short period of time. Specifically, this study examines how the original Constitution went from perpetuating slavery to ensuring the protection of the life, liberty, and property of all persons against deprivations without due process, and guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

    “Pro-Slavery Sentiment in Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Uses of Irony to Debunk Prominent Southern Theories”

     —Julie Pavlick, Department of English: Literature and Criticism

    Julie PavlickThis paper examines pro-slavery sentiment in the 1800's. Pro-slavery sentiment helped to fuel the on-going debate about whether slavery should be abolished, or kept in order to maintain an economy built upon forced labor. Pavlick compares the use of pro-slavery arguments and tactics to those represented by Harriet Beecher Stowe in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

    “‘Frothing with Delight’: Sexual Freedom and Oppression in Three Twentieth-Century Novels”

     —Jen Matos Ayala, Department of English: Literature and Criticism

    Jen Matos AyalaThe novels Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Gayl Jones’ Corregidora and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple approach and explore the ideal of gaining female empowerment through sexuality and the sexual politics of Black womanhood of the time. Through these novels the reader can observe the sexual exploitation of black women during the times of slavery and/or the long term effects that this has had on the multiple generations of women. However, these effects vary in each novel and for each female character. This presentation explores how the female characters in these novels are concurrently empowered and oppressed by their sexuality and desirability because of the sexual politics of the time.