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“Messianic Time Again: Abolition and Liberalism in Crisis"

We kindly invite you to a guest talk with Matt Sandler (Columbia University) on Thursday, June 27th, at 6:15 pm. The event will take place on Zoom.


For registration and more information, please contact Julia Rössler:

Abstract: Abolition has long been associated with apocalypse both by its advocates and its opponents. Following M.H. Abrams formulation of Romanticism as "the secularization of theological ideas," this talk works through ways that Black Romantic writers like Ottobah Cugoano, David Walker, and James Monroe Whitfield improvised with messianic modes of thought. I argue that abolition constitutes a philosophy of history, that it has a catastrophically necessary but repressed relation to liberalism, and that it returns to public consciousness in the periodic moments of crisis endemic to liberal states.

Sandler imageMatt Sandler directs the MA program in American Studies at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. He is the author of The Black Romantic Revolution: Abolitionist Poets at the End of Slavery (Verso, 2020). His writing has appeared in a range of academic and journalistic outlets, including most recently The Baffler, Soundings, and American Literary History. He is presently at work on two long-term projects, a history of self-help culture against the backdrop of U.S. colonial violence, and a series of essays about the political theory of abolition.

We hope to see you there!

The event is kindly funded by the Bavarian American Academy.