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Circulating Bodies: Commodification, Sex Work, and Enslavement in Eighteenth Century England
ENGL 314
Spring 2024
Section: 01  

In the newly booming consumer culture of Enlightenment England, people were constantly buying and selling things--bespoke suits and manufactured trinkets as well as human bodies. Sex workers used their bodies to enter into trade agreements, and the imperial economy was built on the enslavement of African people. This course will explore how people and things were turned into circulating objects, and it will trace these as they were passed from hand to hand, valued and revalued, used, abused, and discarded. We will listen as the "things" themselves tell ethically and socially urgent stories. In the period, consumer objects, sex workers, and enslaved peoples all wrote memoirs (or had ones imagined for them). We will read these texts alongside contemporary debates about economics, labor, race, abolition, and women's rights, and we will return again and again to fundamental questions about personal identity, individual agency and passivity, commodification, objectification, and the very limits of the human.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on APR-16-2024
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