From Slavery to Revolution: South of the Border

Four Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 22, 29, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. | Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 Main Street

An exciting change in American studies scholarship proposes that in the nineteenth century, the American South had less in common with the northern states than it did with countries south of the U. S. border. Caroline Levander, director of Rice University's Center for the Study of Cultures and associate professor of English, will  lead an exploration of this new comparative, hemispheric approach to the study of American history, literature, and  political science.

March 1: Whose America Is It Anyway?
Levander will introduce us to the new Americas Archive that Rice University has begun to collect. In addition to viewing such key documents as the first edition of the Chilean Constitution (1822), and Andrew Jackson's 1837 Claims upon Mexico, a pivotal document to the U.S.–Mexican War of 1848, we will discuss famous Cuban expatriot José Martí's acclaimed political treatise, Our America (1891).

March 8:  Slave Narratives Across the Americas
Cuba occupied a unique place in the political culture of the Americas. Its unique slave culture and revolutionary history will be viewed through Juan Fransisco Manzano's narrative—the only extant slave narrative from Spanish America.

March 22:  Filibustering and the Fight for Independence
A romanticized figure in the early nineteenth century, the filibuster or "freedom fighter" became a powerful symbol of democracy for U.S. as well Cuban and Nicaraguan citizens. We will follow the famous filibustering expeditions by Narciso Lopez to Cuba and William Walker to Nicaragua and will focus on an autobiographical novel, Free Flag of Cuba, written by a filibuster's widow, Lucy Holcombe Pickens. 

March 29: The Journey to "Free" Cuba
"Free" Cuba offered an important alternative example of race relations for African Americans like W. E. B. Du Bois, father of the NAACP, and the author Langston Hughes.  We will study it as it was encountered by the politicans, social commentators, and soldiers who fought with Teddy Roosevelt.


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Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


The interest list for the fall and spring study tours is open. If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez in the fall of 2018 or Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy.


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Fall is just around the corner. Register today!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.