Thea Hunter

Dr. T.K. Hunter is a historian (M.A. & Ph.D., Columbia), art historian (M.A., Hunter College), writer, consultant and public historian. She was a consultant for a WGBH-TV history production Africans in America aired nationwide, has been a speaker for Black History Month at a National Historical site, and is a long-time history walking tour guide leading tours that bring to light the life and contributions of New York City’s varied populations from the time of the Dutch to the present. Most recently, she contributed to the research and writing of a walking tour on Prohibition that was debuted in tandem with Ken Burns’ documentary Prohibition that aired nationally on WNET/Channel Thirteen. Dr. Hunter was chosen to participate in a rare fiction writing Master Class led by author Gloria Naylor at the 92nd Street Y and has worked on both fiction writing and non-fiction writing. She has published a book review on slavery in the Caribbean as well as numerous articles in a variety of specialized encyclopedias including an article on American Art in the Encyclopedia of New American Culture. An essay entitled “Geographies of Liberty” can be found in the book Prophets of Protest, (New Press) a collection of history essays that re-examine abolitionist thought and initiatives in 19th century America. A law review article “Transatlantic Negotiations,” presented at the Gloucester, England Law Conference on rights, can be found in the Texas Wesleyan Law Review and online through law article portals.

Dr. Hunter has taught at a variety of universities including Columbia University at the Institute for Research in African American Studies, NYU, Princeton University and The New School where she has recently been nominated for a Distinguished Teaching Award. She has received numerous fellowships including one from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and she has also been a prestigious Andrew W. Mellon fellow. Dr. Hunter loves the challenges found in teaching and engages students, enthusiastically, each time she steps into the classroom. 


  • B.A. in Biology & Art History, Barnard College & Columbia University
  • M.A. in Art History & History, Hunter College (Art History) & Columbia University (History)
  • Ph.D. in History: Atlantic World & English Law, Columbia University



Courses Taught

  • HIST 206 - American History to 1878
  • HIST 210 - Great Issues in American History – 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries
  • HIST 381 - Declaring Revolution – Colonial and Revolutionary American History
  • Research
    • Early America
    • the Black Atlantic
    • Liberty & Natural Rights Ideology
    • 18th century English law
    • Modern African American Art
  • Publications and Scholarly Activities


    • Currently revising book proposal tentatively titled “Liberty’s Argument: Pressing for Freedom in the Black Atlantic” for publication.
    • “Tributes from Dr. Manning Marable’s Students,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, 13:4, pp. 432-442, 2011.
    • “Writing London, Writing Worcester County” in A Circle of Friends: Remembering Madeline L’Engle, ed., Katherine Kirkpatrick, A Circle of Friends Publication, 2009.
    • “Transatlantic Negotiations: Lord Mansfield, Liberty and Somerset,” Texas Wesleyan Law Review, Dec. 2007.
    • “Geographies of Liberty,” in Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism, eds. John Stauffer and Timothy Patrick McCarthy. New York, The New Press, 2006.
    • “Liberty and Law in the 18th century Anglo-American Transatlantic,” Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History, ed. Colin Palmer. New York, Macmillan/Gale Group, 2006.
    • “American Painting to the 1830s,” in Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, ed. Paul Finkelman, New York, Thomson/Gale Group, 2005.
  • Professional Experience and Memberships
    • Princeton University
    • The New School University
    • Columbia University (The Institute for Research in African American Studies)
    • Montclair State University (Art History)
    • NYU Legal History Seminar
    • New School Writing History Seminar
    • The AHA
    • OIEAHC - Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
    • NACBS - North American Conference on British Studies
  • Honors, Awards, and Grants


    • Society of Fellows Finalist, Princeton University
    • University of Glasgow Fellowship
    • Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society
    • Columbia University President's Fellowship Doctoral Fellow, Columbia University

  • Other

    Consulting/Advisory/Speaking Engagements:

    • Consultant/Researcher/Writer, “Satan’s Seat” history walking tour in conjunction with Ken Burns Prohibition documentary for Channel 13/ WNET, New York City
    • Consultant/Course Developing, CUNY College Now program
    • Speaker, “Colonial NYC 17th – 18th century,” for Prof. Jim Downs (Connecticut College) NYC Summer Seminar
    • Speaker, “Central Park – Contested Uses,” for Prof. Jim Downs (Connecticut College) NYC Summer Seminar
    • Speaker, “Columbia, Undergraduate Women of Color and Success,” Queen’s Pride Annual Dinner (an evening in honor and celebration of undergraduate black women at Columbia)
    • Speaker, “African/African Americans in Revolutionary Era,” St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, Mt. Vernon, NY
    • Speaker, “Conversations” series, Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University -- “Liberty: The Law and the African Diaspora”
    • Speaker, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh – joint invitation: “Imagined Geographies of Liberty: 1772 London, 1836 Boston (A Consideration of Two Cases)”
    • Speaker, “Why We Write” Conference, Columbia University: “Ideologies of Liberty and Print Culture: 1740s – 1780s”
    • Online Seminar Editor/Writer (content developer), Columbia Interactive, Selected portions of Eric Foner’s “The Struggle for Freedom”
    • History Consultant, Colonial America Episode 2 – “Revolution”, WGBH TV- Boston for PBS “Africans in America” Television Series
    • Currently completing a book proposal on liberty in the Black Atlantic, and writing an historical novel based on events in New York City in the early 20th century.