Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Global Labor and Political Universality: Rethinking 19th Century Labor Movements
My presentation will explore how the Abolitionists' double emphasis on citizenship rights and universal emancipation facilitated Trans-Atlantic relationships among movements of differently classified laborers. Focusing particularly on the Black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass' interactions with the English Chartist movement and Irish land and political rights struggles, I discuss, first, how the themes of slavery and emancipation became central to the emergent idea of global labor. And, secondly, the ways in which the resulting expanded political imagination helped to facilitate transnational connections and universalized political imaginations among differently classified laborers long after the process of national consolidation of labor movements began in earnest in the second half of the 19th century.