Westenley Alcenat (History, Columbia University): Between Slaves and Citizens: Free Blacks and the Transformation of Citizenship in the Age of Revolutions, 1776-1840 (PDF)
Dani Holtz (History, UPenn): “Who are the True Conservatives?”
THIS MONTH'S PAPERS examine shifting ideas about politics, ideas, and "race" in the nineteenth century. Both papers explore how revolutionaries and reactionaries influenced the anti-slavery movement in the United States.
Westenley’s paper sketches the trials of Black freedom in the age of both revolution and expanding slavery. It shows how the American Revolution and then Haitian revolutionaries changed the political consciousness of free Black people, leading them to demand a radically transformed vision of citizenship beyond existing race-based models.
Dani’s paper examines the competing agendas of U.S. conservatives that emerged in nineteenth-century political and intellectual movements. Looking at the national debates over the institution of slavery, her paper shows how states-rights, anti-abolitionist, and anti-slavery groups mobilized the international discourse of “conservatism” in order to authorize and naturalize their distinct national metaphysics, while the ideological apparatus of conservatism simultaneously destabilized and conscribed their aims.