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How African American Political Thought Can Turn Back the Radical Right

November 6, 2013, 6:30pm ET - 7:30pm ET

A discussion with Nick Bromell, professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of U.S. Democracy.

In his new book, Professor Nick Bromell brings to light an underappreciated stream of democratic thought by black writers and activists from David Walker to Malcolm X. Bromell argues that these thinkers urge Americans to fundamentally re-imagine the nature of their democracy and recognize that indignation can be a powerful and productive democratic emotion; that dignity is just as important to democracy as equality and liberty; that national citizenship can be infused with a sense of responsibility to the world; and that faith can actually promote rather than threaten democratic pluralism.

A literary critic and intellectual historian, Bromell draws on a wide range of fiction, essays, speeches, and oral histories to synthesize recent work in U.S. history, literary and cultural studies, and political theory. His book shows how African American democratic insights are relevant to the challenges facing U.S. democracy today and how they might provide the basis for a new public philosophy with which to turn back the rise of radical conservatism.