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Doc McGrail's Blog about Digital Humanities at the Community College

For DH Lab: Please choose at least TWO forums below to browse and answer questions in.

BACKGROUND:

In class on Wednesday, we started to look at how Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sentimental form supported her novel’s rhetorical purpose: to protest the institution of slavery in America.

At the time of its writing, most black Americans responded enthusiastically to . Frederick Douglass was a friend of Stowe’s; she had consulted him on some sections of the book, and he praised the book in his writings. Most black abolitionists saw it as a tremendous help to their cause. Some, however, opposed the book, seeing Uncle Tom’s character as being too submissive and criticized Stowe for having her strongest black characters emigrate to Liberia. To this day, it is difficult to fully comprehend the complexities of racist feeling in America in the wake of publication and the Civil War that followed it.

GAMES HELP CHILDREN AND ADULTS ORGANIZE THEIR WORLDS

Games provide epistemic frames for children and adults to understand how the world is or should be organized. An “” is a cognitive and emotional structure that organizes and orients each person’s ways of knowing the world. It is made up of the values, knowledge, skills, identities, and rationales for decision making. An is highly relational: it provides hierarchies and relational connections among the people, places and things in our orbits.

A NEW EPISTEMIC FRAME

Because of its pervasive popularity, provided for white Americans (and Europeans) to comprehend the humanity of black slaves in an abolitionist context. For whites in America—Southerners and Northerners alike–this epistemic frame was grounded in Christian piety, the cult of true womanhood, and domestic individualism. For example, when Eliza demonstrates powerful maternal devotion she provided white women with a model of identification, which changed those women’s epistemic frame.

A FRAME IMPOSED ON BLACK AMERICAN SLAVES AND FREE MEN AND WOMEN

Of course, for black American slaves, this epistemic frame was objectifying and imposed from without; it infantilized black men and valued male and female submission to “God’s will” as understood by white Southerners and Northerners. Thus, while we can admire Stowe’s rhetorical skill in mobilizing sentiment for a just cause, reading this novel we also bear witness to the racist effects of her choices. If we can hold —Stowe’s achievement and her production of racist sterotypes—we can to understand this book’s place in our American Literature Survey.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TODAY’S LAB:

For today’s DH Lab, FIRST click on each of the links below and follow the links to the web archive, maintained by the University of Virginia.

Once you’ve scanned everything, decide on a forum and answer the question(s) there. Feel free to enter into conversation with each other by replying to the original question and/or the responses of your classmates within the forum. But you should post about at least two sites.

TOY VILLAGES: Check out the two “Toy Villages” – Play Village Version 1 and Skagen SKJ0954998 Womens Necklace rah5N9Qz
Notice that these villages include an “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” feature. Answer both of these questions:

QUESTION 1: What do you make of this feature of a village game in a 1905 child’s toy?

QUESTION 2: The curators suggest that this is a “plantation recreation” game, even though not explicitly stated. How does this village contribute to the “epistemic frame” within which children would understand American history? The division of white and black roles in a given “village”? _____________________________________________________

BROWSE THE SITE

To see the variety of cultural objects inspired by , you may want to browse Gift Boxed Sterling Silver Tiny Turquoise colour Agate Heart silver amp; Freshwater Pearl earrings SIZE 6mm wR54k0Pfn

How does it change your perspective to see not just children’s games but “adult toys” and other forms of entertainment emerge from Stowe’s novel? Taken together, how do these artifacts–created over a period of 80 years–contribute to a cultural epistemic frame?

___________________________________________________________

PAPER DOLLS/RAG DOLLS

The profound learning that occurs with manipulable toys such as village sets and dolls goes beyond the narrative structure set up in the novel, create an infinitely variable reorganization and reinforcement of the social structure.

Review the Solid Sterling Silver amp; Abalone Tree of Life Yggdrasill Pendant Pagan P078 a2t8p2U8w
Then continue your reflection on how these objects of material culture contributed to the epistemic frame launched by the novel .

Note the DATES each of these was produced: only one in 1865; the others were in the early 20 century.

QUESTION: In what contexts can you imagine these figures reinforced the lessons Stowe intended? In what contexts can you see these figures reinforcing emergent racist stereotypes that Stowe may not have intended? What significance could the dating hold?

_________________________________________________________________

UNCLE TOM CARD GAME #1

Read the introduction to this game here click on the “ Blue Opal AntiqueStyle Silver Pendant Superb Colour yfGx9FA
” on the left pane. Click on each of the different character cards, paying special attention to the different “whole families.”

QUESTIONS What kind of epistemic frame does this card provide for the players? How does it differ from the frame created in Uncle Tom Card Game #1?

______________________________________________________________________

UNCLE TOM CARD GAME #2

First click on “ See the Cards .” After you have seen the four sections of cards, go back and click on “ Fossil Womens Earrings JF00134040 HmULiU
,” and follow how the game is played.

QUESTION How does this card game reimagine the world of the novel? Do you think it’s true to the spirit of the novel? What advantages might such a game have in the abolitionist fight against slavery? [Note that it is published the same year as

UNCLE TOM’S CABIN:

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His songs are typically painfully direct, and often display a disturbing blend of childlike naïvete with darker, “spooky” themes. Johnston’s singing voice is rather high-pitched, and his performances often seem faltering or uncertain; one critic writes that Johnston’s recordings range from “spotty to brilliant”. He also draws and paints; he is a cult comic book artist and his illustrations have been featured with most of his albums.

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