Beyond Freedom
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Beyond Freedom

Disrupting the History of Emancipation

Edited by David W. Blight and Jim Downs

Foreword by Eric Foner

Title Details

Pages: 208

Illustrations: 3 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 11/01/2017

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5149-0

List Price: $25.95


Pub Date: 11/01/2017

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5148-3

List Price: $83.95


Pub Date: 11/01/2017

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5147-6

List Price: $83.95

Beyond Freedom

Disrupting the History of Emancipation

Edited by David W. Blight and Jim Downs

Foreword by Eric Foner

Understanding freedom as process and practice rather than a defining moment

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Contributors

This collection of eleven original essays interrogates the concept of freedom and recenters our understanding of the process of emancipation. Who defined freedom, and what did freedom mean to nineteenth-century African Americans, both during and after slavery? Did freedom just mean the absence of constraint and a widening of personal choice, or did it extend to the ballot box, to education, to equality of opportunity? In examining such questions, rather than defining every aspect of postemancipation life as a new form of freedom, these essays develop the work of scholars who are looking at how belonging to an empowered government or community defines the outcome of emancipation.

Some essays in this collection disrupt the traditional story and time-frame of emancipation. Others offer trenchant renderings of emancipation, with new interpretations of the language and politics of democracy. Still others sidestep academic conventions to speak personally about the politics of emancipation historiography, reconsidering how historians have used source material for understanding subjects such as violence and the suffering of refugee women and children. Together the essays show that the question of freedom—its contested meanings, its social relations, and its beneficiaries—remains central to understanding the complex historical process known as emancipation.

Contributors: Justin Behrend, Gregory P. Downs, Jim Downs, Carole Emberton, Eric Foner, Thavolia Glymph, Chandra Manning, Kate Masur, Richard Newman, James Oakes, Susan O’Donovan, Hannah Rosen, Brenda E. Stevenson.

An excellent collection of essays by leading scholars in the field who provide well-researched and nuanced portraits of emancipation and the historical context in which it functioned.

—The Journal of African American History

Justin Behrend

Greg Downs

Carole Emberton

Eric Foner

Thavolia Glymph

Chandra Manning

Kate Masur

Richard S. Newman

James Oakes

Susan Eva O'Donovan

Hannah Rosen

Brenda Stevenson

About the Author/Editor

David W. Blight (Editor)
DAVID W. BLIGHT is a professor of history at Yale University, the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale, and the author of several books, most recently, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era.

Jim Downs (Editor)
JIM DOWNS is the Gilder Lehrman-National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of History at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Maladies of Empire: How Colonialism, Slavery, and War Transformed Medicine, Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction and the coeditor of Beyond Freedom: Disrupting the History of Emancipation and Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America.