I happily spent the earlier part of my time trawling through archives. It is an interesting contradiction in that I was happy to keep myself busy, but I often wondered what I was actually contributing to my thesis. I think it adds to a grasp of the wider contexts that operated at that time. The principal archives I visited were: The National Library of Ireland,Dublin National Library of Ireland, Dublin; City Library, Waterford City Library, Waterford and my favourite: the Frederick Douglass Papers, IUPUI.
My thesis subject is Frederick Douglass. He was born an African American slave and died after a long and successful career as abolitionist lecturer, journalist, writer, diplomat to Haiti and was feted by American presidents. His remarkable journey and his huge corpus of writings has offered scholars an opportunity to interrogate many of the boundaries that were described around slavery, freedom, racism and the nation state.
Within the large area of Douglass studies, my topic focuses on one of the boundaries that modern Douglass criticism has ruptured: the nation-state. Douglass has been an important subject within transatlantic studies, as he embodies the triangular nature of the slave trade, and he was part of the diaspora who compelled scholars to acknowledge the Black Atlantic.