Wed., Feb. 7, 7:30–8:30 p.m. | Education and Visitors Center, Rothenberg Hall | Free with Reservation
Often called the first English-language novel, and perhaps the most enduring, Robinson Crusoe sizzled especially after the belated entry of Friday, who became became the most famous character of color in British and US popular culture. But of what color and race? In Daniel Defoe’s original account, Friday is written as an Indigenous character. But over the next 200 years he became, especially onstage, an African American figure, though usually portrayed by a white actor in blackface. David Roediger considers the circumstances and limits of this transformation and what it says about the history of race.
About the Speaker
David Roediger is the Foundation Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas where he teaches and writes on race and class in the United States. Educated through college at public schools in Illinois, he completed doctoral work at Northwestern University. His recent books include Class, Race, and Marxism; Seizing Freedom;, and The Production of Difference with Elizabeth Esch. His older writings on race, immigration, and working-class history include The Wages of Whiteness and Working toward Whiteness.