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Christopher L. Brown and Paul J. Polgar

Conversation #1 in the “Slavery and Freedom in the Era of Revolution” series

July 13, 2020 at 6:00 pm EST


Christopher L. Brown (Columbia University) specializes in the history of eighteenth century Britain, the early modern British Empire, and the comparative history of slavery and abolition, with secondary interests in the age of revolutions and the history of the Atlantic world.

The 1996-1998 OI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Omohundro Institute, Professor Brown is the author of Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism (Omohundro Institute with partner UNC Press) – a work that was awarded the Frederick Douglass Book Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Center as well as the James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History from the American Historical Association — and Arming Slaves: From the Classical Era to the Modern Age (Yale University Press), an edited collection with Philip D. Morgan.

Of Moral Capital, the Times Literary Supplement wrote “say(s) something genuinely new about a subject that has been discussed and written about for two centuries; and that . . . is no small achievement.”

Professor Brown is now writing a book about British experience in Africa in the era of the American Revolution.

Paul J. Polgar (University of Mississippi) is a historian of slavery, race, and abolition in the United States and broader Atlantic world.

The 2013-2015 Omohundro Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Professor Polgar is the author of Standard-Bearers of Equality: America’s First Abolition Movement (Omohundro Institute with partner UNC Press) – a book that examines the activities of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the New York Manumission Society, and their African American allies during the post-Revolutionary and early national eras.

Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut) said that Standard-Bearers of Equality “is the best book on the first wave of abolition in the early American Republic, period.”

Professor Polgar is now at work on two projects. He is co-editing a volume of essays that will reinterpret the origins and construction of racial slavery in British North America by placing the 1619 moment into an Atlantic and comparative context. He is also beginning a sole-authored project centering on the early years of Reconstruction in the US that will reexamine how a majority of the Northern white electorate coalesced around an agenda that included a pathbreaking expansion of Black civil and political rights.