Tragic Soul-Life: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Moral Crisis Facing American Democracy

Hardcover | June 15, 2012

byTerrence L. Johnson

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Contemporary debates on the role of religion in American public life ignore the overlap between religion and race in the formation of American democratic traditions and more often than not imagine democracy within the terrain of John Rawls's political liberalism. This kind of politicalliberalism, which focuses on political commitments at the expense of our religious beliefs, fosters the necessary conditions to open historically closed doors to black bodies, allows blacks to sit at the King's table and creates the necessary safeguards for black protest against discriminationwithin a constitutional democracy. By implication of its emphasis on rights and inclusion, political liberalism assumes that the presence of black bodies signifies the materialization of a robust American democracy. However, political liberalism discounts the historical role of religion in formingand fashioning the nation's construction of race. Tragic Soul-Life argues that the collision between religion and politics during U.S. slavery and segregation created the fragments from which emerged a firm but shifting moral disdain for blackness within the nation's collective moral imagination. The very problem political liberals want to avoid,our comprehensive philosophy, is central to solving the political and economic problems facing blacks.

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Contemporary debates on the role of religion in American public life ignore the overlap between religion and race in the formation of American democratic traditions and more often than not imagine democracy within the terrain of John Rawls's political liberalism. This kind of politicalliberalism, which focuses on political commitments ...

Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Haverford College.

other books by Terrence L. Johnson

Story of My Life in Poetry and Prose
Story of My Life in Poetry and Prose

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195383982

ISBN - 13:9780195383980

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Table of Contents

Table of ContentsAcknowledgmentsPrefaceIntroduction1. Spiritual Isolation2. Haunting Echoes: Tragic Soul-Life and the Souls of Our Ancestors3. Spirit of Freedom4. The Dead, Death, and Dying5. The Spirit of Religion: Soul-Beauty and Human Strivings6. Ethics in a World of Bad FaithConclusion