Brown Bag Confiscated Voices: Representing the Slave Experience during the American Civil War 29 May 2013.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Heather Cooper, University of Iowa

Runaway slaves who fled to Union lines during the Civil War were known as “contrabands” because of their inclusion in the category of seizeable enemy property under the First and Second Confiscation Acts. The pervasive references to “contraband” in the press, on stage, and in political cartoons suggest that “contraband” became the primary representation of slavery and slaves during the Civil War, much in the way that “Uncle Tom” had in the 1850s. This talk will explore the ways in which contraband men and women enacted their own representations of their changing status and slave experience and through everyday performance in the contraband camps, challenging competing representations of race, gender, and slavery in the process.