Marcy Dinius (DePaul University): "David Walker's Textual Engagements"

Workshop in the History of Material Texts

Featured Image: Title page of Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, third edition (Boston: 1830).

Monday, February 28, 2022, 5:15pm, in person and via Zoom
Title page of Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, third edition (Boston: 1830).

Our speaker writes:

My talk will be centered on Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, the radical political pamphlet published by activist David Walker in three editions in Boston between 1829 and 1830. The first half of the talk will be drawn from my forthcoming book The Textual Effects of David Walker’s Appeal: Print-Based Activism Against Slavery, Racism, and Discrimination, 1829-1851, focusing on how Walker modeled critical textual engagement as vital to Black Americans’ intellectual development, political citizenship, and social advancement. I will briefly survey the effects of this advice on four writer-activists who published important pamphlets between 1831 and 1851 that adapted and extended Walker’s powerful arguments to other Americans in times of great political and social change. In the talk’s second half, I will share the early stages of ongoing work on Walker and his pamphlet that looks back to understand the late Enlightenment intellectual roots of Walker’s theories and practices of history, pedagogy, politics, and textuality by way of his explicit and implicit engagements with an impressive range of texts.  

About our speaker:

Marcy J. Dinius is an Associate Professor of English at DePaul University. Her research focuses on aesthetic and political representation at sites of technological reproduction (early photography, the type case and the printing press) and in theorizations of the human and human (in)capacities. Her first book, The Camera and the Press: American Visual and Print Culture in the Age of the Daguerreotype was published by Penn Press in 2012. Her second book is also forthcoming from Penn this April.

Talks will be held live, in person, in the Class of 78 Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. They will also be available via Zoom (please contact Aylin Malcolm for details). All are welcome. If you would like to receive details on future talks, please sign up for our listserv using this link or visit the Workshop website.

The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press, Emeritus), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).

Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.