I recently finished Taylor Sparrow’s text, _A Problem of Memory_, (which is a text you can’t put on your Facebook virtual bookshelf because it has no listing–is this any way to tout your readings?)
Anyway, I was drawn in immediately by the notes of one of Sparrow’s teaching partners, (I don’t have the book on me now to list the name), who shares some ideas of teaching students about “the system” they are in. The students specifically in question were students in pre-Katrina New Orleans, in one of the worst city schools; they were students who “were expected to fail” and become wage slaves to occupy low-level tourism jobs of the city or something of the same nature. I wish I had the book here to pull out some passages, but I try and think about my own classrooms and think about what I “expect” my students to do or achieve.
Other parts of Sparrow’s prose cover the precedents of slavery set in Haiti and Ireland and how they created certain paradigms for production prior to American slavery. Slavery here is kept in context of its relation to a system of production, showing that it was used when it was profitable, and only when it became profitable to emancipate the slaves (Lincoln), and release them into the Northern workforce, did emancipation occur.
Check out Taylor Sparrow’s book here