Untimely Democracy: The Politics of Progress After Slavery

Hardcover | October 16, 2017

byGregory Laski

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From the abolition era to the Civil Rights movement to the age of Obama, the promise of perfectibility and improvement resonates in the story of American democracy. But what exactly does racial "progress" mean, and how do we recognize and achieve it? Untimely Democracy: The Politics ofProgress After Slavery uncovers a surprising answer to this question in the writings of American authors and activists, both black and white. Conventional narratives of democracy stretching from Thomas Jefferson's America to our own posit a purposeful break between past and present as the key to theviability of this political form - the only way to ensure its continual development. But for Pauline E. Hopkins, Frederick Douglass, Stephen Crane, W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles W. Chesnutt, Sutton E. Griggs, Callie House, and the other figures examined in this book, the campaign to secure liberty andequality for all citizens proceeds most potently when it refuses the precepts of progressive time. Placing these authors' post-Civil War writings into dialogue with debates about racial optimism and pessimism, tracts on progress, and accounts of ex-slave pension activism, and extending their insights into our contemporary period, Laski recovers late-nineteenth-century literature as a vibrant sitefor doing political theory. Untimely Democracy ultimately shows how one of the bleakest periods in American racial history provided fertile terrain for a radical reconstruction of our most fundamental assumptions about this political system. Offering resources for moments when the march of progressseems to stutter and even stop, this book invites us to reconsider just what democracy can make possible.

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From the abolition era to the Civil Rights movement to the age of Obama, the promise of perfectibility and improvement resonates in the story of American democracy. But what exactly does racial "progress" mean, and how do we recognize and achieve it? Untimely Democracy: The Politics ofProgress After Slavery uncovers a surprising answer...

Gregory Laski is an Assistant Professor of English at the United States Air Force Academy. He is co-founder of the Democratic Dialogue Project, a Mellon grant-funded exchange between Air Force Academy and Colorado College students that seeks to bridge the military-civilian divide.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 16, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190642793

ISBN - 13:9780190642792

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