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Orlando Patterson, “The Perils of Freedom in America”

The Lionel Trilling Seminar

  • First come, first seated
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
Mugshot of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Perils of Freedom in America"

Respondents: Eric Foner and Saidiya Hartman

Please note that seating, which is limited, will be on a first come first served basis.

ORLANDO PATTERSON, John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the London School of Economics (1965). He began teaching at Harvard in 1969. His work has focused on the sociology of slavery and of freedom and on the problems of ethnicity and multiculturalism. Among his many books are: The Sociology of Slavery: Jamaica, 1655-1838 (1967), Ethnic Chauvinism: The Reactionary Impulse (1977), Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (1982), Freedom: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (1991), The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America's "Racial" Crisis (1997) and Rituals of Blood: The Consequences of Slavery in Two American Centuries (1998). He is also the author of three novels and numerous short stories. His many honors include The Sorokin Prize from the American Sociological Association, the Ralph Bunche Award of the American Political Science Association, and the National Book Award. He served as Special Advisor for Social Policy and Development to the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley (1972-1980) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

ERIC FONER, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University (1969), where he has served since 1982. His many books address the intersection of intellectual, political, and social history in America, with particular attention to race relations. They include: Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1970); Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (1976), Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy (1983); the multiple prize-winning Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988); The Story of American Freedom (1998), and, most recently, Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction (2005).
Foner has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy, and he has served as president of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association.

SAIDIYA HARTMAN holds a joint appointment in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University, having previously taught at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Hartman specializes in feminism, critical race theory, and African American literature and culture. She is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (1997), the co-author, with Beryl Wright, of Lorna Simpson: For the Sake of the Viewer (1992), and the co-editor, with Stephen Best, of Redress, a special issue of Representations (2005). Her most recent book, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in early 2007. Her work has also appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Callaloo, and in the edited collection Between Woman and Nation: Nationalism, Transnational Feminisms and the State (1999).