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Patricia Matthew on The Woman of Color and Mansfield Park

Please join us on Thursday February 28th at 5.15pm for a discussion of Patricia Matthew’s work on The Woman of Colour, A Tale and Mansfield Park. Patricia’s paper is titled “‘I yield up my independence’: Marriage and Shades of Mansfield.”

Please contact Rachel Buurma or Kate Thomas for a copy of the paper.

Patricia writes:

In this WIP I analyze representations of courtship, particularly for those women on the margins of Britain’s fashionable society. I discuss The Woman of Colour, A Tale and Mansfield Park and argue that the anonymous author of Woman of Color and Jane Austen use the marriage market and its laws to comment on women’s oppression and its links to institutions of slavery. With heroines whose subject positions shift as they travel from slave culture to slave culture (Olivia Fairfield from Jamaica to Bristol and Fanny Price from Portsmouth to Northampton and the world of Mansfield Park) and for whom marriage offers tantalizing access to security, both novelists use metaphors and narrative tropes that evoke the slave trade—the middle passage, slave markets, and women’s slave narratives, and the 1772 Somerset decision settled by Lord Mansfield. Further, Olivia and Fanny both rely on enslavers for their material stability. Both women are willing to “yield up” their independence, but, as Amman Asante makes clear in her film “Belle” their doing so highlights the limits of abolitionist sentiments.

Patricia Matthew is an associate professor of English at Montclair State University and writes about the history of the novel and British abolitionist literature and culture. Her work has been published in various journals and magazines including Women’s Writing, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, the Keats-Shelley Journal, PMLA, European Romantic Review (with Manu Chander), The Atlantic and Lapham’s Quarterly. She is currently writing a book on sugar, gender, and protests in nineteenth-century literature. She is also a specialist in diversity and inclusion in higher education and the editor of Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure (UNC Press, 2016).

We meet at the Center for the Humanities at Temple University on Temple’s main campus, Gladfelter Hall, 10th floor; you will find directions here: http://www.cla.temple.edu/chat/about/directions/