Intuitive Criticism


Panel organizer: Thomas Hallock, University of South Florida St. Petersburg


Panel sponsored by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment


In Spring 1803 a group of enslaved Ibos, having completed the Middle Passage, jumped ship off St. Simons Island, Georgia, drowning themselves in what was considered a group suicide. Despite documentary (i.e., written) evidence, oral tradition maintains that the enslaved Africans, following ancestral worship, flew back across the ocean. The impasse between historic and folkloric bodies of knowledge, as Timothy Powell maintains, points to a larger, epistemological divide. How does scholarly interpretation, valorizing reason and documentation, treat what might be dismissed as superstition? What role does instinct play in academic writing? What of intuition? This panel welcomes papers that consider the treatment of superstition, conjuring, instinct or intuition in colonial texts; or that critique and/or reflect upon the role of non-rational thought in early American studies.

Please send c.v. and proposal to Thomas Hallock ( by Friday, September 7, 2012.