Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America

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In Keeping Faith, Cornel West - author of the bestselling Race Matters - puts forward his ideas about race and about philosophy. West's powerful voice ranges widely across issues of race and culture, the role of the black intellectual, politics and philosophy in America, art and architecture, questions of legal theory, and the future of liberal thought. In a time of decay and discouragement in the black community and among progressive forces at large, Keeping Faith offers new strategies to galvanize and propel a new generation of African Americans. Yet, West argues, racial subordination must be understood within the larger crises of our society. Maintaining the uniqueness of black identity and resistance, he provocatively suggests alliances with other intellectual and community-based forms of American radicalism. Keeping Faith offers West's distinctive mix of political passions and careful scrutiny. Whether exploring 'the new cultural politics of difference', American pragmatism, or race and social theory, he sustains a difficult balance between a subtly argued critique of the past and present, and a broadly conceived, daring vision of the future. Both troubling and exhilarating, Keeping Faith maps not only the concerns of one of the most significant public intellectuals of our time, but issues crucial to Americans of all races.

This powerful collection of essays ranges widely across politics and philosophy in America, the role of the black intellectual, legal theory and the future of liberal thought, and the fate of African Americans. The author of Race Matters, West lectures widely and appears frequently on TV.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers who enjoyed the illuminating essays in West's bestselling Race Matters will be baffled by this collection of 17 academic essays. West is a formidable intellect, but only tenacious, grounded readers will find useful his analyses of philosphers like Georg Lukacs and Fredric Jameson, or his criticism of the radical movement known as Critical Legal Studies. Those looking for elaboration on the themes developed in Race Matters will find a mixed bag. Essays on ``The New Cultural Politics of Difference'' and ``The Dilemma of the Black Intellectual'' set out the options facing critics like himself, though they lack concrete examples. A final piece, on the conflicting legacies of 1960s black activism, offers valuable historical analysis, but it was written in 1984 and should have been updated with references to present politicians and debates. Nov.
Library Journal
As Henry James moved to Europe to write about America, so Princeton philosopher West Race Matters , LJ 3/15/93 finds a frame for his assessment of the state of the ``New World African'' through recent trips to Ethiopia. Influenced by Richard Rorty and Michel Foucault, West develops a ``prophetic criticism'' to explore the existential conditions of race in America. Collecting 17 previously published essays and reviews, West examines the problems of culture, canon, and the black intellectual; the limits of political engagement; the role of the ``critical legal studies movement''; and the nature of race. While the essays are often repetitive and turgid in style, they are well informed and provocative, aware both of the power and the dangers of cultural criticism. An important book.-- T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415910286
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,452,604
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Cornel West

Cornel West (1953-) is currently Professor of Religion at Princeton University. As well as being a prominent public intellectual and a widely read writer on American Politics, Religion and Culture, he also produced a CD, Sketches of My Culture and appeared in the final two films in The Matrix trilogy.

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Difficulty of Keeping Faith
1 The New Cultural Politics of Difference 3
2 Black Critics and the Pitfalls of Canon Formation 33
3 A Note on Race and Architecture 45
4 Horace Pippin's Challenge to Art Criticism 55
5 The Dilemma of the Black Intellectual 67
6 Theory, Pragmatisms and Politics 89
7 Pragmatism and the Sense of the Tragic 107
8 The Historicist Turn in Philosophy of Religion 119
9 The Limits of Neopragmatism 135
10 On Georg Lukacs 143
11 Fredric Jameson's American Marxism 165
12 Reassessing the Critical Legal Studies Movement 195
13 Critical Legal Studies and a Liberal Critic 207
14 Charles Taylor and the Critical Legal Studies Movement 227
15 The Role of Law in Progressive Politics 235
16 Race and Social Theory 251
17 The Paradox of the African American Rebellion 271
Notes 293
Index 309
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