Available for course adoptions in Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, and Literature.

Maria W. Stewart and The Roots of Black Political Thought, 2021

By Kristin Waters – A biography of a trailblazer and a movement for abolition, gender equality, and social justice.

Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought

Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought tells a crucial, almost-forgotten story of African Americans of early nineteenth-century America. In 1833, Stewart (1803–1879) told a gathering at the African Masonic Hall on Boston’s Beacon Hill: “African rights and liberty is a subject that ought to fire the breast of every free man of color in these United States.” She argued that the founding principles of the nation must extend to people of color; otherwise, they are merely the hypocritical expression of an ungodly white power, a travesty of original democratic ideals.

Between 1831 and 1833, Stewart’s intellectual productions, addressed true emancipation for African Americans, the black convention movement, the hypocrisy of white Christianity, black liberation theology, and gender inequities. Along with Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1829),her body of work constitutes a significant foundation for black revolutionary (or radical) liberalism as developed today by political philosopher Charles W. Mills.

This book is both a biography of Maria W. Stewart and of one of the earliest and most successful organized movements for black liberation in the United States and provides a crucial account of the foundations of black political theory today.

“In 1831 Maria W. Stewart, née Miller (1803-1879), a nearly destitute 29-year-old widow appeared at the Boston office of William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp, publishers of The Liberator, a periodical destined to become the most influential anti-slavery newspaper in the United States.” (3) -Kristin Waters, Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought (2021)

Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds, 2007

We are excited to announce a new issue of this award-winning foundational collection of critical essays edited by Kristin Waters and Carol B. Conaway along with a new preface by the editors.

An astonishing wealth of literary and intellectual work by nineteenth century black women has been rediscovered and restored to print in scholarly and popular editions. In Kristin Waters’ and Carol B. Conaway’s landmark edited collection, sophisticated commentary on this rich body of work chronicles a powerful and interwoven legacy of activism based in social and political theories that helped shape the history of North America.

Written by leading scholars, Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions is particularly powerful in its exploration of the pioneering thought and action of Maria W. Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Ida B. Wells.

“A remarkable and invaluable anthology…I read with pleasure the splendid analyses of black women’s activism and the thought-provoking interpretations of their textured voices in slave narratives, speeches, religious sermons, letters, and expressive productions.” – Darlene Clark Hine, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University

Women and Men Political Theorists: Enlightened Conversations, 2000

Edited by Kristin Waters – An anthology of primary source material for political theory courses.

Women and Men Political Theorists: Enlightened Conversations

This book is the only anthology that credibly compiles a race and gender balanced collection of primary source material on political philosophy from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century for use in courses and research. Paired with the “usual suspects”: Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Madison, Marx and Mill are Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mercy Otis Warren, Maria W. Stewart, Frederick Douglass, and Anna Julia Cooper in very substantial selections from their original writings in a format designed for undergraduate or graduate courses. Chapter introductions link newly-recovered and canonical writings in terms of sources of legitimate government authority, the right of revolution, women’s rights, federalism and anti-federalism, liberalism and socialism, African American rights and liberty, First Amendment rights, war and peace, and the value of black labor from the perspective of utilitarianism.

Book Chapters

Selected Papers and Presentations

  • Author Meets Critics Panel: Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Theory, American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Meeting, Montreal, Canada, January 2022.
  • Author Meets Critics Panel: Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Theory (University Press of Mississippi – 2021). Author: Kristin Waters and Respondents: Dianne Bartlow, California State University, Northridge and José Jorge Mendoza, University of Washington, November 2021.
  • Advocating for Insurrection: An Ethics of Action,” California Roundtable on Philosophy and Race, Loyola University, New Orleans. 2018
  • Maria Stewart, David Walker and Insurrectionist Ethics,” African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), Brandeis University. 2018.
  • Theorizing for Change in Early Boston: Freedom and Livity in Black Revolutionary Thought,” Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA). 2017.
  • Epistemologies of Ignorance,” at BESS: Black Europe Summer School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2016.
  • Maria W. Stewart and Black Revolutionary Liberalism,” African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS): New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 2016.
  • Dismantling Ignorance: The Persuasive Powers of David Walker and Maria W. Stewart,” Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference, University of Connecticut, 2015.
  • Early Black Political Theory: A Story, Shifting the Geography of Reason XII,” Caribbean Philosophical Association, Cancun, Mexico. 2015.
  • Surviving and Thriving in Graduate School,” Collegium of Black Women Philosophers. Pennsylvania State University, University Park. 2015.
  • Weak and Strong Intersectionality: A Proposal,” Tenth Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, Shifting the Geography of Reason, at the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2013.
  • Past as Prologue: Intersectional Analysis in Nineteenth Century Philosophies of Race and Gender,” at Women in Philosophy: Why Race and Gender Still Matter, conference organized by the Society for Women in Philosophy, Notre Dame of Maryland University. 2012.
  • Five Arguments about Oppression,” at the California Roundtable and Philosophy and Race, Northwestern University. 2010. Performance: “Aphra Behn: A Woman’s Comedy,” a play written by Kristin Waters and performed at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center by professional actors including, Elliot Norton Award winner Annette Miller. Talkback led by Scott Edmiston, Director, Office of the Arts. 2009
  • Crying Out For Liberty: Concepts of Freedom and Equality in the Early Abolitionism,” Dowell Lecture for Women’s History Month, College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, New York. March 2008.
  • Power and Resistance: Intellectual Traditions of Black Feminist Theory,” National Women’s Studies Association Annual Meeting, Oakland, California, 2006.
  • Wonderful Philosophies of Mary Seacole,” Caribbean Philosophical Association, 2005.

A Sample of Invited Essays, Journal Articles, and Encyclopedia Entries

  • Hidden Forces: Intersectionality, Power Dynamics, and Strategies for Change in Scientific Professions,” with Jean A. King, in Recognizing and Addressing Power Dynamics in Science and Academia, published by the Society for Neuroscience, November 2018.
  •  “A Journey from Willful Ignorance to Liberal Guilt to Black Feminist Thought,” for a special issue of DCQR: Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, “Cultivating Promise and Possibility: Black Feminist Thought as an Innovative, Interdisciplinary, and International Framework” ed. Rachel Alicia Griffin. (Vol. 5. No. 3. Fall 2016).
  • Maria W. Stewart and Social Movements,” in Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin, eds., Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, March 2014.
  •  “Crying Out for Liberty: Maria W. Stewart and David Walker’s Revolutionary Liberalism,” Philosophia Africana: Analysis of Philosophy and Issues in Africa and the Black Diaspora , 15:1 (2013).
  • Rose, Ernestine L. Susmond Potowski (1810-1892), by Paula Doress-Worters and Kristin Waters, Dictionary of Early American Philosophers, ed. Dorothy Rogers, Thoemmes Press, 2012.
  • Wonderful Philosophies of Mary Seacole,” Philosophia Africana: Analysis of Philosophy and Issues in Africa and the Black Diaspora, Volume 12, number 2, Fall 2009.
  • Some Core Themes in Nineteenth Century Black Feminism,” (abbreviated version), Proceedings of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, Oxford University Press. (Spring 2007).

Book Reviews

  • Naming a Transnational Black Feminist Framework: Writing in Darkness, by K. Melchor Quick Hall, Journal of International Women’s Studies, January 2021.
  • The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of U.S. Democracy, Nick Bromell, (Oxford Oxford University Press, 2013), Journal of American History (December 2014).
  • Press, Platform, Pulpit: Black Feminist Publics in the Era of Reform,Teresa Zackodnik (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011), Journal of American History (2013) 99(4): 1264-1265.
  • Canon Fodder: Historical Women Political Thinkers, Penny Weiss, in APA Feminism and Philosophy Newsletter, Fall 2010, Volume 10, Number One.
  • The Trouble Between Us: An Uneasy History of Black and White Women in the Feminist Movement, Journal of American History, 2008.
  • Black and White Women’s Travel Narratives: Antebellum Explorations. Cheryl J. Fish, University of Florida Press. Gainesville, 2004, Journal of American Culture, 39:2, June 2006.
  • Discovering Feminist Philosophy, Robin May Schott, Rowman and Littlefield 2003, Women’s Studies International Forum, 2004.
  • September 11, 2001: Feminist Perspectives, ed. B. Winter. Spinifex 2002, in Women’s Studies International Forum, 27, 2004, pp. 603-604.
  • Radical Feminism Today, Denise Thompson, Sage, 2001, Women’s Studies International Forum, 2002.
  • Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: A World That Is, Was and Will Be, by Diane Bell, Spinifex Press, 2000, in NWSA Journal.
  • Revisioning the Political: Feminist Reconstructions of Traditional Concepts in Western Philosophy, ed. N. Hirschmann and C. di Stefano, Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, Spring 1997.
  • Abortion, Politics and the Law, by Eva Rubin, Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1989.
  • The Science Question in Feminism, by Sandra Harding, Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 10, No. 6, 1987.

To explore more of Dr. Kristin Waters scholarship, please access her profile via Academia.