Peter Joseph Wirzbicki F'11
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2011
New York University
Black Intellectuals, White Abolitionists, and Revolutionary Transcendentalists: Creating the Radical Intellectual Tradition in Antebellum Boston
This dissertation describes the activism and intellectual debates led by a community of radical abolitionists in antebellum Boston. It pays close attention to the intellectual influence of New England Transcendentalism in crafting the rhetoric and ideas deployed by these radicals. The dissertation also explores the contribution of black thinkers to the intellectual debates of Boston, weaving a narrative history of the various debates and political crises from 1835 to 1860 with a rigorous analysis of their thought. It endeavors to reshape the conversation on New England intellectual life, emphasizing the radical political nature of Transcendentalism, the influence of black intellectuals, and the cosmopolitan nature of the ideas that developed from this alliance.