"The Most Interesting Building in Georgia": Slave Quarters and the Political Architecture of the Uncanny ."The Most Interesting Building in Georgia": Slave Quarters and the Political Architecture of the Uncanny .http://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/162272KINSC Sharpless Auditorium2011-02-23T16:30:002011-02-23T18:00:00
February 23, 4:30PM
KINSC Sharpless Auditorium
Talk by Mark Auslander, Mark Auslander, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University
Mark Auslander, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University, is the author of the forthcoming book "The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of the American South."
In 1937, Warren Candler, a noted segregationist and senior Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, declared that the slave quarters known as "Kitty's Cottage," was the "most interesting building in Georgia," and ought to be carefully and reverentially preserved for posterity. For Candler and other white defenders of the Jim Crow racialized order, the Cottage exemplified their commitment to narratives of loyal slaves, benevolent masters,and the moral rectitude of the Antebellum white elite. Across the subsequent eight decades the Cottage has been moved, restored, transformed and struggled over, as white and African American community members have sought through this modest physical structure to imagine and refashion the vast historical terrain of American chattel slavery. The Cottage has been cherished and boycotted, loved and detested, and has even featured in a rite of spirit possession. Taking Kitty's Cottage as our point of departure, this paper considers why and how the architectural details of slave quarters, North and South, have emerged as prominent flashpoints in ethical struggles over the shape and trajectory of the American body politic. Particular attention will be given to the uncanny qualities of preserved and reconstructed slave residences, which are often considered to be haunted or hedged about with unquiet presences. What deep-seated contradictions --about race, gender, sexuality, and power--are evoked and transmuted through these enigmatic architectural forms?
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