About Laura Ryan

Laura Ryan is a PhD student in English and American Studies at the University of Manchester. Her research looks at D. H. Lawrence and the Harlem Renaissance as well as exploring transatlantic and transnational modernisms more widely.

‘[S]omething to feel about’: Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of The Last Slave

A Review Essay

It is nearly a century since Zora Neale Hurston wrote Barracoon, an ethnography of Cudjo Lewis, the Alabama man believed to be the last living African enslaved in the United States. On May 8 Lewis’ story became widely available to the public for the first time. To mark this historic occasion, and to commemorate the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston – a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, African-American folklorist and ethnographer, and one of the most significant women writers of the twentieth century – USSO has commissioned a series of articles on any aspect of Hurston’s life, her art, her anthropology. This article is the second in the series. Continue reading

Book Review: Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America by Jennifer Brier, Jim Downs and Jennifer L. Morgan (eds.)

This expansive and ambitious collection sets out to ask what the American past looks like when race and sexuality are the ‘animating questions’ (3), addressing a persistent failure in scholarship to integrate concerns about race and sexuality. Essays here span almost four centuries of North American history, from same-sex desire on seventeenth-century slave plantations to the mass marches of the 1990s and early 2000s. Continue reading