The decades between 1780 and 1830 witnessed significant imperial expansion, the movement for the abolition of slavery, encounters with “new” peoples through exploration and travel, and the anthropological study of a steadily-increasing number of racial categories. The period we identify in literary history as “Romantic” was thus strongly marked by debates in the politics and science of race. “Race,” it has been argued, acquired its contemporary meaning in this period, even as the concept itself remained in flux. This course approaches the concept of race as one that bears on multiple discourses—political, scientific, sentimental—and offers fuller perspectives on canonical and non-canonical works of the Romantic period. We will read works by David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, Laurence Sterne, Ignatius Sancho, Olaudah Equiano, Henry Mackenzie, Edmund Burke, S.T. Coleridge, William Blake, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, Elizabeth Hamilton, Jane Austen, and Emily Brontë as well as abolitionist poetry and orientalist scholarship. These primary readings will be complemented by readings in recent scholarship by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Anne Mellor, Nigel Leask, Tim Fulford, Peter Kitson, Markman Ellis, and Roxann Wheeler, among others. Students will be required to give three presentations – one on a scholarly article or chapter, and a “teaching” presentation on a primary text – and to write a final paper, which will form the basis of a work-in-progress presentation in the final weeks of the semester.