Donald E. Pease
Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities
Chair of the Liberal Studies Program, Dartmouth College

“Whitman’s Song of Myself, the Mexican War, and the Underside of the American Renaissance”

4 PM March 14, 2005
History Conference Room, 5 Keene-Flint Hall, University of Florida

The dark side of the American Renaissance came to light in the antebellum United States when the rebirth of classical legacies within the so-called masterworks of the United States’s literary tradition coincided with the colonial expansion these works were made to justify. The talk is divided into two sections that will turn on two inter-related claims: that colonial violence constituted the disavowed underside of the American Renaissance, and that this underside was the site of enunciation for the speech acts whereby Walt Whitman celebrated the United States itself as the greatest poem.

Donald E. Pease is the Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities and the Chair of the Liberal Studies Program at Dartmouth College. The author of Visionary Compacts: American Renaissance Writing in Cultural Context and the editor of eight volumes, including the landmark collection Cultures of United States Imperialism (with Amy Kaplan), Revisionist Interventions into the American Canon, Postnational Narratives, and (with Robyn Wiegman) Futures of American Studies. His recent essays include “From Virgin Land to Ground Zero,” “C.L.R. James, Moby-Dick, and the Emergence of Transnational American Studies,” and “José Martí, Alexis de Tocqueville, and the Politics of Displacement.” Pease is also the General Editor for the Duke University Press book series New Americanists and the Founding Director of the Summer Institute for American Studies at Dartmouth College.