Rice University

Events at Rice

Lecture/Lecture Series

Dean of Humanities

Speaker: Andrew Zimmerman

"Guinea" Sam and Magic Marx: Conjure and Communism in the American Civil War

Thursday, November 10, 2016
4:30 PM  to 6:30 PM

307  Sewall Hall
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

This lecture focuses on a conjuror, "Guinea" Sam Nightingale, said to have been shot by cannon directly from Africa to Boonville, Missouri sometime in the 1850s. In Missouri, his life intersected with revolutionary German émigrés in ways that transformed the struggle against slavery in the United States, as well as international communism. Through Nightingale’s life and work, we can learn about the important role played in the American Civil War by two international revolutionary movements: the conjuring power of African American root doctors and the communism of German political exiles. Both conjure and communism, moreover, put forward a model of revolutionary change that differs sharply from the narratives of gradual national progress characteristic of liberalism.

Biography of Andrew Zimmerman:
Andrew Zimmerman is professor of history at the George Washington University. He is the author of Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany (Chicago, 2001) and Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South (Princeton, 2010). He has also edited Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Civil War in the United States (International Publishers, 2016). He is currently writing a history of the American Civil War as a transnational revolution against slave labor and wage labor.

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