African American Political Thought and American Culture: The - download pdf or read online

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  • February 17, 2018
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By Alex Zamalin

ISBN-10: 1137528109

ISBN-13: 9781137528100

ISBN-10: 1349553093

ISBN-13: 9781349553099

In African American Political idea and American Culture, Alex Zamalin argues that African American writers James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison extend the limits of yank political idea and perform. those 3 writers uniquely reimagined middle American beliefs reminiscent of freedom, democratic dedication, and generosity, demonstrating that the perform of those values in daily life, along the enactment of public regulations and laws, is vital for attaining racial justice. via a traditionally and politically grounded interpreting in their paintings, Zamalin demonstrates that getting to those insights illuminates a formerly unrecognized point of 20th century African American political suggestion and highbrow lifestyles, and divulges a strong and energizing resource within the modern fight for racial equality.

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Extra info for African American Political Thought and American Culture: The Nation’s Struggle for Racial Justice

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Twentieth-Century Thought Baldwin’s, Ellison’s and Morrison’s work did not come out of thin air. Sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, it was influenced by and responded to twentieth-century intellectual movements. Psychoanalytic ideas about projection, repression and displacement helped Baldwin vividly depict the frustration of individual choice, agency and selfknowledge. Both he and Morrison applied Marxist criticism of instrumental reason, capitalism and property thinking to the American racial context.

51 Modern political thinkers would have been confused by Baldwin’s insistence that truth, self-examination and freedom were closely linked. But his aim was not so much to challenge the idea that freedom was not about self-determination as it was to articulate the individual conditions that enabled it. 54 For Baldwin, aspiring to truth, whatever form it would take, gave one clearer vision and better perspective, eliminating all the cataracts that blinded them or controlled their behavior. When individuals jettisoned their illusory beliefs they could create a solid foundation from which to be self-determining.

But Baldwin believed that such apolitical freedom was as much affected by as it affected politics. If these assertions were not puzzling enough, Baldwin’s thinking about the realization of freedom was certainly perplexing. He was uninterested in following what had become a dominant approach to theorizing freedom within the American political tradition: defining freedom as negative or positive, “freedom from” as opposed to “freedom to,” to justify specific political, social and economic institutions, laws and policies.

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African American Political Thought and American Culture: The Nation’s Struggle for Racial Justice by Alex Zamalin


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