Brionna Jimerson: The Sea as Its Own Governess

I’m taking a course this semester,  American Studies 188: Slavery’s Optic Glass. The discussion so far has considered the American slave trade, and its significance and impacts on American literature for centuries thereafter.

In the class, I think of the sea as its own governess, its own power entity and nation-state. Prof. Clytus commented how “once we’re off terra firma, we gain perspective”. When applied to the American slave trade, and the micro-economies and micro-societies bred on the slave ships (among the captains/ Europeans), the water takes on a life of its own, commanding respect. It’s a perfect example of art as process.

I’ve included some paintings by J.M.W. Turner. He manages to encapsulate the all-encompassing power and hopelessness of the sea, a body without memory, without pattern.

J.M.W Turner’s The Slave Ship, 1840

1 thought on “Brionna Jimerson: The Sea as Its Own Governess

  1. I found your presentation really intriguing, and I hope that you pursue the concept of looking into the captain’s perspective. I think it is terrifying but essential to understand how it is possible to push aside your conscience and humanity to be an instrument of an institution like slavery.

Feedback

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s