Date of Award

4-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Doris Hambuch

Second Advisor

Manfred Malzahn

Third Advisor

EI-Sayed EI-Aswad

Abstract

Slave narrative as a genre became popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and narratives of enslaved African American Muslims originate between 1734 and 1873. Examples of enslaved African American Muslims are Ayyub ben Suleiman (Job ben Solomon), Omar ibn Said, Abdr-Rahman Ibrahim, Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua, Lamine Kebe, Mohammad Ali ben Said (Nicolas Said) and Bilali Muhammad (Ben Ali). Their narratives are not anthologized. This dissertation explores Muslim and non-Muslim African American slave narratives from a comparative perspective. It proposes the inclusion of African American Muslim slave narratives in American literature.

Chapter one reviews critical approaches to canonization and discusses possible reasons for the exclusion of narratives by enslaved African American Muslims from the American canon. Chapter two defines the slave narrative genre in light of the socio-historical background on slavery in narratives by enslaved African American Muslims. Chapter three focuses on the characteristics of early African American slave narratives and analyzes Ayyub ben Suleiman's account. Chapter four discusses characteristics of antebellum African American slave narratives and analyzes and compares narratives of enslaved African American Muslims with Frederick Douglass's narrative. Chapter five focuses on the post-bellum slave narrative by Mohammad Ali Ben Said (Nicholas Said), and discusses characteristics of the post-Civil War slave narrative.

The addition of narratives by enslaved African American Muslims would provide a more complete portrait of enslaved people and their writings at a crucial stage in American history. The study will ultimately contribute to current debates about literary canonization.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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