Recasting Africanness: Ignatius Sancho and the Question of Identity
Olaleye, Banjo Ebenezer 1992-
The prejudice against blacks, a designation based on the dark color of the skin which includes people from India, Africa and the Caribbean, in eighteenth-century Britain is what I tag Africanness. Africanness describes the supposed inferiority of black races. It was the predominant ideology in eighteenth-century Britain that blacks are immoral and unrefined people who lack mental abilities. In Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, Ignatius Sancho, demonstrates his education, his Christianity, his morality, and many other traits that contradict what most Europeans assumed Negurs to be. Positioning himself as an observing outsider, Sancho reveals and re-presents himself to eighteenth-century British society as a black man who is neither Savage nor any of the other characteristics assumed to apply to his race. In refuting the notion that intelligence is determined by race, upholding the need for self-improvement of every man in every race, and as illustrated through Sancho’s existence as an African man of letters, Sancho’s Letters recasts the prejudices facing eighteenth-century blacks in Britain.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeHarris, Richard; Hynes, Peter
Copyright DateAugust 2016
Africanness, prejudice, eighteenth-century Britain, Abolitionist, slavery