Things I Learned at ASANOR 2018

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This past week, I attended the American Studies Association of Norway (ASANOR) conference on the past and future of cosmopolitanism in Kristiansand, Norway. While there, I learned a lot, as hopefully usual for conferences. Today, I want to take the time to briefly write about some of the things I thought about during the conference and some of the things that I learned along the way. This will not be a breakdown of all of the panels I attended and all of the keynotes. Rather, it will be a discussion of some of the topics that I want to explore further in my own research and teaching.

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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and Language Part 2

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Last post, I started discussing how Mark Twain uses language in The Adventures Huckleberry Finn to, as Stephen Railton notes, address “an individual’s psychological enslavement to cultural preconceptions, epistemological prejudices.” Twain achieves this in multiple ways throughout the novel, and to highlight a few of the specific places where he uses language to juxtapose the ways that characters treat and refer to Black and White characters. The discussion below is in no way exhaustive, but it is meant to serve as an entry point into a deeper examination of how Twain uses language to expose “psychological enslavement” and to hopefully free individuals from their “cultural preconceptions.”

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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and Language

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This semester, I am teaching Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) for the first time. I am teaching it as part of the ENG 122 survey course at the University of Bergen. While I still do not necessarily enjoy the novel (it’s kind of like Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby for me), I have discovered some important conversations surrounding the novel that help us address Twain’s use of language and how language functions within society. Again, I have written about this topic countless times on the blog, so I will not rehash those discussions. Rather, I will take the time to look at some of the key moments in Huckleberry Finn where Twain foregrounds language within the novel.

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