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A Discussion of Twelve Years a Slave

With Michael Ralph and Wahneema Lubiano
November 14th, 2013
5:00 PM


Ralph discusses the role of violence in Twelve Years A Slave and Django Unchained:

Ralph examines the current rise in popularity of slavery on the screen:

Ralph connects the experience of viewing Twelve Years a Slave with living in the United States today:

In the audio above, Ralph discusses the role of violence in Twelve Years A Slave and Django Unchained.

The Forum for Scholars & Publics held a discussion on Twelve Years a Slave in November 2013. The discussion was led by Michael Ralph of New York University and Wahneema Lubiano of Duke University and included several other faculty participants. 

We asked participants to familiarize themselves with the book before the discussion. The original edition is available for free viewing and download in a variety of formats at the Internet Archive, here: People also picked up the recent re-edition of the book, with critical commentary by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Ira Berlin.

Related links:

"The Moral and Economic Costs of Slavery:" FSP director Laurent Dubois on the Diane Rehm Show.

"Fighting to Survive: 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost" by David Denby, The New Yorker

'Twelve Years' Forum: 'Show Up for the Horror, Stay for the Politics' on Duke Today

Twelve Years a Slave trailer

Michael Ralph

New York University

Associate Professor, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Metropolitan Studies; Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, Africana Studies, American Studies

Ph.D. 2007 (Anthropology), University of Chicago; M.A. 2002 (Anthropology), University of Chicago; B.A. 2000 (Africana Studies) Morris Brown College.

Wahneema Lubiano

Duke University

Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Literature (Ph.D., Stanford, 1987). Before coming to Lubiano she taught at Princeton, the University of Texas at Austin, and Williams College. Her essays and articles have been published in Social Text, Cultural Critique, boundary 2, American Literary History, Callaloo, New England Quarterly, among other publications. She is author of the forthcoming books Messing With the Machine: Politics, Form and African-American Fiction and Like Being Mugged by a Metaphor: "Deep Cover" and Other "Black" Fictions, and editor of The House That Race Built: Black Americans, U.S. Terrain (1996). Her current research interests include African-American literature, African-American popular culture and film, womens' studies, black intellectual history, and nationalism.