Ira Dworkin: “Nicholas Said, the Civil War, and the Emergence of African American Narrative”
Join Ira Dworkin on March 6, 2019 as he discusses Nicholas Said's affect on American literature. Glasscock Room 311
March 6, 2019, 9-10 a.m.
311 Glasscock Building
Ira Dworkin| Assistant Professor, Department of English
“Nicholas Said, the Civil War, and the Emergence of African American Narrative”
This project examines the literary career of Nicholas Said, a Muslim man from Bornu (near Lake Chad in present-day northeastern Nigeria), who was enslaved in Africa, Europe, and Asia before arriving in the United States in 1860 as a freed person, where he volunteered for the 55th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War. This paper attempts to reconcile the popular appeal of Said’s Americanness, which facilitated the publication of his autobiography in the Atlantic Monthly in 1867, with his text which has little to say about his Civil War service. Said’s disidentification with the United States opens up space for him to inscribe himself more substantively as an African Muslim subject, which in turn productively disrupts the established formulations of nineteenth-century American literature.