Disforming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave by Ronald A.T. Judy

By Ronald A.T. Judy

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Extra info for Disforming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular (Disforming the American Canon : African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular)

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By the end of the Civil War, the historical mission of the collegiate system, the conservation and dissemination of classical ethical judgment and aesthetic discrimination, had either been displaced by that of research and knowledge production, or had become little more than undergraduate education. The liberal arts colleges' losing hegemony over the apparatus and organization of knowledge, was coterminous with the autonomy of the humanities (studio, humanitatis) from the general economy of the marketplace, as the privileged sphere of intellectual activity.

More precisely, what is at risk is the conception of writing as cipher, as the transparent representation of experience. Among the most enduring lessons of the Yale school, chiefly through the work of Gates, is the recognition that Afro-American slave narratives exploit this conception to the point of problematizing it, in order to achieve freedom from objectification, in order to gain the vernacular corpus. II While it has become almost a cliche to state that Afro-American slave narratives constitute a process of emancipation through writing, to conceive of this process as a function of linguistic indeterminacy has yet to become widely accepted.

But after sixteen years of protracted agitation for change, Ticknor resigned his chair in 1835. Throughout his efforts at Harvard, Ticknor's conception of the university found reinforcement in his friend and colleague Thomas Jefferson, as well as a connection with the idea of the instrumentality of knowledge. Jefferson, who had been campaigning for some system of public education in Virginia since 1779, finally succeeded in convincing the state to charter the University of Virginia in 1824. S. universities and colleges, the exemplary expression of reactionary resistance to both these drives was Jeremiah Day's 1828 Yale Report.

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