3.02.120 S The Autobiographies of Frederick Douglass


  • Mittwoch: 08:00 - 10:00, wöchentlich


This course will focus on the autobiographical writings of orator, writer, and freedom fighter Frederick Douglass. Most students may already be familiar with his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) in the context of the nineteenth-century institution of slavery and abolitionism. This class seeks to investigate his three autobiographies alongside each other regarding questions of genre, self-fashioning, and race, but also with regards to American democracy and its core values of freedom, equality, and (racial) justice. Speaking from the margins of social and political power – at least in his first two autobiographies – Douglass’s writings are highly relevant for a deeper understanding of American democracy’s entanglement with slavery and racial domination. We will explore Douglass’s demands for and emancipatory visions of racial justice guided by the question of what lessons we can learn from his writings about American democracy past and present.
Please purchase and read Frederick Douglass’s autobiographies: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845); My Bondage and My Freedom (1855); Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881).

Please note: Active participation requires the preparation of the assigned reading materials, the lively participation in seminar discussions as well as brief in-class writing assignments. The syllabus and mandatory reading materials can be found on Stud.IP.



  • ang612 Periods and Key Figures in Literary and Cultural History
  • gen220 Geschlecht und Moderne
  • gen222 Geschlecht und Moderne


  • Studium generale / Gasthörstudium

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Werke und Texte von repräsentativen Figuren einzelner Epochen von der frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegenwart.


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