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The Time is Always NowBlack Political Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy$
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Nicholas Bromell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199973439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199973439.001.0001

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The Art of Citizenship

The Art of Citizenship

Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, and the Difficulty of Knowing Others

(p.59) 3 The Art of Citizenship
The Time is Always Now

Nick Bromell

Oxford University Press

This chapter first analyzes Nella Larsen's Passing, which takes up the question of how (and whether) a look of recognition deals with difference and takes account of what seems unfamiliar and unknown in another person. It then shows how James Baldwin's Another Country unpacks the complex and subtle dynamics of recognition and relationship in ways that emphasizes the necessity of vulnerability and therefore of trust. These two novels contribute to our public philosophy of democracy by underscoring the complex, perhaps inescapably tragic dynamics of such relationships, thereby pointing us toward a more successful practice of the art of democratic citizenship.

Keywords:   Passing, Another Country, recognition, relationship, democratic citizenship, public philosophy, democracy

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