Undisciplinarity and fugitivity are the controlling conceits through which these books imagine the sciences in the long nineteenth century of the Americas and in the antebellum period of African America, respectively. The authors trace the scientific yearnings, failings, and rewritings of anthropology, ethnography, craniology, phrenology, and electrobiology, to name a few, with race at the center of their studies. Combined, these books interrogate a transdisciplinary archive of materials such as field notebooks, letters, fiction, performances, cabinets, and friendship albums. Undisciplined demonstrates how white European, Afro-Caribbean, and African American scientists decoupled long-nineteenth-century theories and practices from the fixity of racial and other categories on which their sciences relied. Fugitive Science understands African American scientists’ responses to such theories and practices as producing disciplinary innovations that fled into new, if similarly unfixed, territories of knowledge. Both books join a growing body of scholarship that...
Undisciplined: Science, Ethnography, and Personhood in the Americas, 1830–1940
Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture
Andrea Stone is associate professor of English at Smith College and the author of Black Well-Being: Health and Selfhood in Antebellum Black Literature (2016). She is a member of the Celia Project: A Research Collaboration on the History of Slavery and Sexual Violence.
Andrea Stone; Undisciplined: Science, Ethnography, and Personhood in the Americas, 1830–1940
Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture. American Literature 1 December 2019; 91 (4): 874–876. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-7917356
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