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Ph.D, City University of New York Graduate Center
Slavery and Emancipation, 18th- and 19th-century America
Paul J. Polgar is an historian of slavery, race, and abolition in the United States and the broader Atlantic World.
His in-progress book manuscript, A Well Grounded Hope: Abolishing Slavery and Racial Inequality in Early America reinterprets the history of American abolitionism and gradual emancipation during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Arguing that gradual abolitionism was designed to make persons of color citizens and overturn white prejudice, it unearths an underappreciated period following American Independence when black equality appeared attainable. It reveals pivotal battles early antislavery reformers waged over slavery and emancipation, long before the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
Professor Polgar has held fellowships from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, The Library Company of Philadelphia, and the New York Historical Society, among others. He has published broadly on race, rights, and social reform in the United States. His work has appeared in such publications as the Journal of the Early Republic, American Nineteenth Century History, and the Massachusetts Historical Review.
Before joining the University of Mississippi in 2015, he served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.