Abstract

This article reads the contrasting topographies structuring autobiographical narratives by US slaves and Russian serfs as constitutive of specific imaginings of freedom and constraints on freedom. It argues for seeing the classic "passage" of the bondsman from slavery to freedom as a kind of "passing" involving the manipulation of categories provided by dominant racial (US) or state (Russia) ideologies. The final inability of the bondsman to "pass" into a space of true freedom forces us to posit a fourth space, beyond those of bondage, liberty, or exile. This (non-)space is utopia, perceived largely though the way the putative goal of the escaping slave falls short of being a true "land of liberty."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1456
Print ISSN
0162-4962
Pages
pp. 110-129
Launched on MUSE
2002-01-01
Open Access
No
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