Everyone is welcome!

CSC Cultural Studies Colloquium


George Mason University | Spring 2018 


"Truth and Black Politics after Dred Scott." 

Christopher Bonner 

Assistant Professor of History 

University of Maryland - College Park 

Thursday, February 22, 2018
4:30 to 6:30pm
Johnson Center, Meeting Room D


In May 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that black people were not and could never be American citizens, a claim that free African Americans denounced as “a foul and infamous lie.” Free black people had, for decades, worked to claim and construct citizen status. That was possible because citizenship was not clearly defined in law, and so black people could make potent arguments about the nature of a powerful legal status. But Dred Scott conveyed a problem of citizenship’s vagueness – Roger Taney and others of his ilk could define the status in a way that promoted their white supremacist vision of the nation. What were the possibilities of American citizenship as a political tool and as a legal status? And, though black activists called Dred Scott a lie, what truths might it have conveyed about the history and future of the United States?


CSC is presented by the Cultural Studies Program of George Mason University, bringing scholars of diverse methodological, theoretical, and topical expertise to share new and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. We are grateful to CommunicationsGlobal AffairsInterdisciplinary Curriculum CollaborativeHistory, PhilosophySchar School of Policy and GovernmentUniversity Life, and Women and Gender Studies for funding that helped make this possible. For questions or more information, please email colloquium coordinator Alison Landsberg at [log in to unmask], or contact the Cultural Studies office at 703-993-2851 | http://culturalstudies.gmu.edu.