Freedom's Futures: Contested Legacies of the Reconstruction Amendments
Published on Oct 30, 2013
As U.S. novelists, poets, painters, and scholars continue to remind us, our historical moment is shaped by the haunting presence of racial slavery—a past that, despite postracial prophecy, refuses to pass away. The Constitutional Amendments codified under Reconstruction abolished slavery, except as punishment for a crime; codified birthright citizenship, equal protection, and due process; and expanded access to the vote. Yet, as this talk demonstrates, the contemporary culture of incarceration reveals how all three of these domains remain profoundly vexed sites of struggle over the meaning of freedom.
Keith P. Feldman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, and is affiliated with the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory and Women, Gender, and Sexuality.