The introduction provides an overview of the abolition of Russian serfdom in 1861 and American slavery in 1865. It explores how Americans and Russians of diverse backgrounds responded to emancipation through cultural production. They created textual and visual representations of African Americans and Russian peasants in fiction, poetry, illustrated periodicals, oil paintings, and advertisements. A comparison of these depictions reveals striking similarities and differences that show how people remembered or sought to portray serfdom, slavery, and the post-emancipation era.
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