Theses Doctoral

To Reforge the Nation: Emancipatory Politics and Antebellum Black Abolitionism

Yaure, Philip Christopher

One aim of emancipatory social movements is to make political communities more inclusive. The way in which a movement pursues transformative political change depends on its account of how political actors understand one another as members of a shared community. Drawing on the antebellum political thought of Black abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany, I argue that acknowledgement is a mode of practical understanding that effectively combats exclusionary ideas of political community. I acknowledge you as a fellow member of my political community because you enact a commitment to the community's fundamental principles; enacting such a commitment is what makes you a member of the community. My acknowledgement itself consists in a responsiveness to the fact—independent of my own judgment— that you are a member of the community. This responsiveness manifests in how we comport ourselves in relation to one another in daily political life, which is the primary locus of intervention for effective efforts at making political communities more inclusive.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Gooding-Williams, Robert J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 30, 2020