Research Question – First Attempt
I am writing about images of “white slaves” in the fight against slavery in both the historical abolition movement and the contemporary anti-slavery movement. I am seeking to learn more about why these images were chosen as a tactic against slavery?, and how effective the use of “whiteness” is in anti-slavery campaigns? So that I can help others understand abolitionists strategies used in ending slavery in the 19th century and similar tactics used by modern day abolitionists. In answering these questions I hope to learn whether or not the use of whiteness to combat an institution where whites are in the minority was an effective strategy in the past and in current movements. I also expect to find out any negative impacts the use of “white slave” images had on the abolition movement. I hope the lessons of past abolitionist strategies can then be used to inform and plan campaigns against modern slavery.
(I’m having a hard time reading your post against this background — the text isn’t dark enough to stand out. Is there a way to mute the image colors?)
I really applaud your effort to create a useable past, and to use present-day concerns to ask questions about the past. Perhaps a better phrasing for the Z part of the sentence might be so that I can help current anti-slavery advocates ask difficult questions about the rhetoric and imagery they use.
What I don’t see in this post is a sentence that ends with a question mark. Wondering how you would word the post as a question?
Sorry about the background. I was trying to make the site a little more visually pleasing but not hard to read. I changed the background and edited the post to include two questions. Thanks for the suggestions!
Thanks David. I liked the background scene — definitely appealing in early Feb. And you could probably alter it in Photoshop if you wanted to avoid some other odious grad school task!
Am now wondering how you will measure “effectiveness?” And whether you want to research both time periods (ask Alison Hight about the difficulties posed by trying to do a chronologically comparative study for an MA thesis!) Or use the earlier era to suggest that current anti-slavery movements, while in a different time and place, may need to reconsider the imagery/rhetoric they employ. (BTW, I found Bell and will return it to library today!)
It sounds like you have a solid start to your project and your questions are really interesting. I had not thought of considering “whiteness” in anti-slavery campaigns before and I think you have found a highly unique niche to fill.
I agree with Dr. Jones in that it may be difficult to measure “effectiveness” as that is somewhat subjective. Is there another similar way to phrase that particular question? Can you measure success instead of effectiveness? Just a thought!
Or, what about thinking in terms of positive/negative “responses” to that particular imagery? In places other than obviously-abolitionist literature? Either could soften some of the subjectivity.
David, I find your project so very interesting. After reading your post about The Anti-slavery Project, I’m still curious to know about what existing scholarship there is on this topic. Has whiteness been used before in this context?