African American History Seminar “Fighting the Dogs:” Fugitivity, Canine Hunters, and Slave Resistance in the Rural South registration required at no cost 19 March 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Tyler D. Parry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Comment: Harriet Ritvo, MIT Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg

As slavery expanded in the Americas, canine attacks were used as a particularly sadistic aspect of racist dehumanization. Through linked processes of breeding and training, slave hunters believed they had developed “natural” enemies between black people and the canines trained to hunt them. This paper investigates how fugitives responded to this interspecies violence by using various techniques of environmental resistance outside the plantation’s confines. By analyzing how fugitives used herbal combinations, waterways, and offensive weapons to subvert the canine's sensory advantage, this paper argues that enslaved communities should be understood as knowledge producers who studied their environments and used scientific awareness in their resistance.

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