Timothy L. Fosbury, UCLA
Friends of the MCEAS Dissertation Fellow
“Persistent Futures of Bermudas Past: Genres of Geography and Race in Early America”
In Persistent Futures of Bermudas Past: Genres of Geography and Race in Early America, Timothy L. Fosbury argues that place-making projects conducted in and through Bermuda were integral to the development of nascently-racialized settler discourses around the hemisphere in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Bermuda’s uniqueness in contrast to other English settlements opened up futures never before imaginable to the writers who worked in the forms and genres - natural history, poetry, proposals, sermons, and spiritual life writing - intended to give meaning to Bermudian land. This imaginative literature enabled a colonial mentality that settlers utilized to justify the seizure of indigenous territory and the enforcement of hierarchies of being throughout America as they sought to produce the colonial, commercial, and religious futures they desired for themselves. Persistent Futures of Bermudas Past offers a significant contribution to the fields of early American studies, critical race theory, and theories of settler colonization by excavating the imbricated relations of place, race, and literature in the colonial period from the perspective of a Bermudian center of early America. A cross its three chapters and coda, the dissertation establishes that Bermuda was a persistently anomalous enabling condition for imaging colonial futures and enforcing the boundaries of race in America.