Season 4

S04E01 | "From Letters to Cartas:

Latinx Writing in Early America"

This episode explores how letters or cartas expounded universalist notions of political self-determination by cultivating intimate states of brotherhood or friendship across the Americas during the nineteenth century. In the recently published Letters from Filadelfia: Early Latino Literature and the Trans-American Elite, Rodrigo Lazo examines this archive to retrace the migrant steps of revolutionaries and writers between roughly 1790 to 1830: a group he calls the “trans-American elite.” Such epistolary writings sometimes reproduce and sometimes dislocate the racial, economic, and gender hierarchies of places where the Latin and Anglo Americas meet. Guest commentators John Morán González (University of Texas, Austin), Sandra Gustafson (University of Notre Dame), and Sharada Balachandran Orihuela (University of Maryland, College Park) reflect on the ways that integrating Spanish-language archives can change how we think about the early U.S. republic, as well as the cultural production of Latinx populations past and present. The episode is bookended by dramatic readings of excerpts of the letters mentioned in Letters from Filadelfia. It was produced by Carmen E. Lamas (University of Virginia) and Kirsten Silva Gruesz (University of California, Santa Cruz), with additional production support and original music from Paul Fess (La Guardia Community College, CUNY) and Douglas Guerra (SUNY Oswego).


Full transcript available here:    

S04E02 | "Comparative Settler Colonialisms:

Transatlantic Movements"

This episode considers Indigenous and Settler Colonial Studies and artistic practice across the borders of nation states, and across oceans. Beginning with a nineteenth-century archival object, the episode turns to a conversation with artist Maria Hupfield (University of Toronto), who reflects on her work as an Indigenous artist and performer who has brought her art to different spaces and geographies. The episode concludes with a conversation with David Stirrup, the Director of the first Centre for Indigenous and Settler Colonial Studies in the U.K., at the University of Kent. As nineteenth-century American literary studies increasingly recognizes the transnational dimensions of Indigenous and Settler Colonial Studies, this episode looks beyond national borders for models of global and comparative studies that nevertheless account for particular national and local histories. This episode was produced by Melissa Gniadek (University of Toronto) and Xine Yao (University College London). Additional production support was provided by Rachel Boccio (LaGuardia Community College/CUNY), Chelsea Latremouille (University of Toronto), and Stephanie Redekop (University of Toronto). Full episode transcript available here.

S04E03 | "The Literary Capital of Pirates"   


This episode tracks the literary history of pirates in the long nineteenth-century United States and examines how literary pirates helped singers, readers, and writers contemplate the excesses of capitalism. In four acts, Lydia G. Fash highlights varying tropes for literary pirates. The first act considers the pirate anti-heroes in a ballad about Captain Kidd favored by sailors who had to endure the brutal maritime punishments of greedy captains. The second act moves to the depression that followed the Panic of 1837, when Edgar Allan Poe positioned pirate treasure as an alluring windfall to those struggling folk savvy enough to decipher its secret location. In the third act, Fash tells the story of “The Great Western Land Pirate,” John Murrell, the leader of an armed gang who attacked the rich in the Southeast. And in the final act, Fash highlights how abolitionists labeled enslavers as pirates--a tactic meant both to remind listeners of the legal status of the international slave trade after 1808 and to conjure the anger colonists came to feel about historic pirates. Yet this rhetorical strategy was ultimately weakened by the growing cachet of literary pirates at the mid-century. Throughout the nineteenth-century and beyond, pirate antiheroes, Fash argues, have allowed readers to navigate negative feelings about the inequities of capitalism without creating any corresponding desire for structural change. This episode was produced by Lydia G. Fash (Simmons University). Additional production support from Ittai Orr (University of Michigan). Full episode transcript available here.

S04E04 | "Comparative Settler Colonialisms (II): African Indigeneity and Southern Africa as Colony"

A nineteenth-century tunnel book inspires us to adopt different perspectives on settler colonial regimes and power structures. This second part in the diptych series on comparative settler colonialisms begins with an object lesson based in London about imperial gazes on different colonial landscapes. This episode features Dr. Xine Yao in conversation with Dr. T.J. Tallie, an Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego and author of Queering Colonial Natal: Indigeneity and the Violence of Belonging in Southern Africa (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). Tallie’s focus on nineteenth-century settler colonial histories in a region of what is now South Africa provides insight into structures of settler colonialism and ways to consider relationships between queerness, Indigeneity, and Blackness. This episode was produced by Melissa Gniadek (University of Toronto) and Xine Yao (University College London). Additional production support was provided by Rachel Boccio (LaGuardia Community College/CUNY), Chelsea Latremouille (University of Toronto), and Stephanie Redekop (University of Toronto). Full episode transcript here.


Image: Carta de Vicente Rocafuerte desde Londres al Libertador Simón Bolívar (1824)

(Letter of Vicente Rocafuerte from London to the

Liberator Simón Bolívar)