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Uncle Tom and the Politics of Loyalty: The Mutation of a Literary Character into a Racial Epithet, 1852 to present

Thursday, October 15, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Room: Zoom, link on the SNID website.
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In this talk, Dr. Thompson explores the mutation of Uncle Tom from nineteenth-century literary character to the relentless reworking of Uncle Tom into a nostalgic, racial metaphor with the power to shape how we see Black men. How, why, and with what consequences for our society did Uncle Tom morph first into a servile old man (Josiah Henson) and then to a racial epithet hurled at Black men deemed, by other Black people, to have betrayed their race? 

Dr. Cheryl Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Industries, Faculty of Communication & Design at Ryerson University. Uncle: Race, Nostalgia and the Politics of Loyalty will be published by Coach House Books in February 2021. Dr. Thompson has published commentaries in the New York TimesSpacing, and The Conversation. Her other books include, Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture (2019). Dr. Thompson resides in Toron

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