By Tyler Sutherland
English professor Hortense Spillers from Vanderbilt University will deliver the 2010 Sidney Warhaft Memorial Distinguished Visiting Speaker lecture this afternoon at the University of Manitoba.
Titled “Women and the Republics,” Spillers’ lecture will explore the role of women and the question of citizenship in the context of early modern state formations.
The lecture is inspired by the infamous liaison between U.S. president Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, his slave. Jefferson had several children (according to both fiction and non-fiction) with his slave, whom he inherited through marriage. This mind-boggling connection takes place in the context of Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” and his stated contempt for people of African descent.
“Women and the Republics” brings together the contradictions concerning “public” and “private,” the ownership of human beings, and the revolutions in the New World and Europe that brought about the United States, Haiti, and the modern French state.
The free lecture is open to the public beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre, St. John’s College, on the U of M’s Fort Garry campus.