Peter Wirzbicki

Assistant Professor
Department of History
Princeton University

I am a U.S. historian whose work explores the interaction between black intellectuals, the Transcendentalist movement, and abolitionist radicals in antebellum New England. I explore how some canonical New England thinkers—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and others—participated in a radical political struggle alongside less known black radicals like William C. Nell and Charles Lenox Remond.  The moral absolutism and philosophical idealism of Transcendentalism made the philosophical movement attractive to political radicals and helped shape the language of the anti-slavery movement.

 I defended my dissertation at New York University in July, 2012. During the 2012-2013 year, I was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts.