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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 139–151 | Cite as

Fictional space and taxonomies of race in the Bahamas: mapping American identity in the early Republic

  • Elizabeth KenneyEmail author
Article

Abstract

In 1823, two Americans, Jeannette Hart and Peter Townsend, travelled to Nassau in the Bahamas. Documents have survived for each, revealing the ways they crafting their American identity in relationship to the gender, racial and class contexts they encountered. Townsend’s letters, diary, and memoirs reveal his unexamined identification with the white British ruling class and endorsement of racial hierarchies in place on the island. Hart’s fictionalised responses complicate her interaction with the transatlantic world by interweaving her responses to European literary genres with ethnographical and satirical descriptions of the island culture; crafting an identity as an American woman writer involves imagining a fictional space that challenges racial, gender, and class boundaries.

Keywords

Jeannette Hart Peter S. Townsend Bahamas race American identity in the early Republic 

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Graduate StudiesSalem State UniversitySalemUSA

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