Author David Kazanjian shifts the lens for Atlantic World scholars in his study The Brink of Freedom to encompass worlds previously viewed as unconnected. In his work, Kazanjian situates 1847 Liberia and 1847 Yucatán in a side-by-side reading, what he terms an “apposition” reading style (9), in an attempt to read into stories of place and people. Interestingly, Kazanjian approaches this appositioned study from the position of a comparative literary critic in order to tease out connections and commonalities in what would otherwise be dismissed as disconnected histories. This creative approach examines Liberia and the Yucatán from a perspective of settler studies to thicken our understanding of how peoples on the periphery reinterpreted and reinvented specific and new meanings to the meaning of “freedom.”

The newly manumitted slaves and freedmen who traveled to Liberia encompassed a collective body of settlers sent to...

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