2015 Justin Leroy (New York University), “Empire and the Afterlife of Slavery: Black Anti-Imperialisms of the Long Nineteenth Century” (Columbia University Press, forthcoming)
Justin Leroy’s dissertation is an original and pioneering consideration of both African American political thought and the emergence of the Modern in the 18th Century Atlantic. This dissertation brilliantly charts the black radical imagination in early America. The biographical portrait of James Roberts – who was born enslaved in Maryland but who fought alongside his master during the American Revolution -- is riveting. Leroy documents eight decades in the life of Roberts. As an intellectual Roberts believed that mistreated black Americans had far more in common with indigenous Americans than with whites who offered bogus promises of freedom in exchange for aid in championing an American empire. Leroy's central argument – that inattention to black internationalism has confounded our ability to adequately understand the roots of Black Atlantic political theory – is constructive and compelling.
Leroy earned his Ph.D. at New York University under the supervision of Prof. Jennifer Morgan.