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The Second Annual PUP/NYIH Lecture in the Humanities: Annette Gordon-Reed on Thomas Jefferson’s Imagined Black Nation

Princeton University Press and the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University are pleased to announce the second the Second Annual PUP/NYIH Lecture in the Humanities. With the aim of highlighting both the value and the relevance of the humanities, this new lecture will be given annually in New York by notable figures from a wide range of fields and will explore humanistic topics and themes.

This year's lecture will be given by Annette Gordon-Reed, who is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Gordon-Reed won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2009). Her most recently published book (with Peter S. Onuf) is “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Gordon-Reed's lecture, "Thomas Jefferson’s Imagined Black Nation," draws on her research from this book. Thomas Jefferson had a vision of enslaved African Americans as a "captive nation," a nation that could not coexist peacefully with the American nation. How did Jefferson come to this view? What are we to make of him in light of his pessimism about the possibility of a multiracial, multicultural society?