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African American Perspectives on Political Science

Wilbur Rich

Publication Year: 2007

Race matters in both national and international politics. Starting from this perspective, African American Perspectives on Political Science presents original essays from leading African American political scientists. Collectively, they evaluate the discipline, its subfields, the quality of race-related research, and omissions in the literature. They argue that because Americans do not fully understand the many-faceted issues of race in politics in their own country, they find it difficult to comprehend ethnic and racial disputes in other countries as well. In addition, partly because there are so few African Americans in the field, political science faces a danger of unconscious insularity in methodology and outlook. Contributors argue that the discipline needs multiple perspectives to prevent it from developing blind spots. Taken as a whole, these essays argue with great urgency that African American political scientists have a unique opportunity and a special responsibility to rethink the canon, the norms, and the directions of the discipline.

Published by: Temple University Press

TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. v-vi

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pp. ix-x

FIFTY YEARS AGO, this book likely would not have been published or even conceived of as necessary to the study of the discipline of American political science. This is understandable, but regrettable...

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pp. xi

EACH OF THE ESSAYS has been written expressly for the book. Accordingly, I would express my appreciation to each of the contributors. I wish to acknowledge the advice and thoughtful comments of several of my friends and colleagues at Wellesley College....

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pp. 1-4

THIS COLLECTION OF ESSAYS is about political science as seen through the eyes of African American political scientist - their assessment of the subfields, their views about the quality of race-related research and their regrets about the omissions in the literature...

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PART I Race and Political Scientists

THE DISCOURSE ABOUT RACE and politics continues. Race is so important because it defines so much of our political culture. Although polls show that white Americans are less prejudiced than they were in the 1940s, the races are becoming more socially...

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CHAPTER 1. Still at the Margins: The Persistence of Neglect of African American Issues in Political Science, 1986-2003

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pp. 7-23

ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES are grids that provide scholars a way to divide up the world and to impose order and consistency on unruly reality. Each discipline presents a slightly different grid such that the "same" topic - for example, family, power, or equality...

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CHAPTER 2. The Race Variable and the American Political Science Association's State of the Discipline Reports and Books, 1907-2002

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pp. 24-37

MATTHEW HOLDEN JR. has written that the study of race has been viewed as an "academic graveyard' for any young scholar who sought 'academic respectability' because white political scientists did not perceive it as raising 'critical intellectual problems.'1 This essay addresses a simple...

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CHAPTER 3. African American Political Scientists in Academic Wonderland

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pp. 38-52

THIS ESSAY EXAMINES African American political scientists' encounters with the academic workplace environment. The :Wonderland" analogy comes from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass. As a newcomer to this odd world,...

PART II Globalization and Transnational Politics

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CHAPTER 4 Black Politics in Latin America: An Analysis of National and Transnational Politics

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pp. 55-75

IN THE LAST 25 YEARS, scholars have made significant contributions to our understanding of race and ethnicity and, more specifically, of Black populations in Latin America. Most of these books and articles have come from historians (Andrews 2004; Appelbaum, Macpherson...

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CHAPTER 5 Globalization and the Study of Development

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pp. 76-104

THIS ESSAY DISCUSSES THE evolution of development studies in the contemporary period, which has come to be called the era of globalization. The study of development, with economics as the lead discipline, became a preoccupation of the social...

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PART III Civic Engagement and Voting

AS THIS VOLUME WAS BEING EDITED, the nation was anticipating the 2008 presidential elections. Clearly the vote is the most critical political resource available to African Americans. Because it has become so predictable, does it lose some of...

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CHAPTER 6 Political Science and the Study of African American Public Opinion

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pp. 107-129

HANES WALTON'S FOUNDATIONAL TEXT, Black Politics, asserts that 'black politics in America is continually changing' (1972, 15). His assertion confirms observations that black political leadership has grown, diversified, and taken on new shadings...

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CHAPTER 7 A Black Gender Gap? Continuity and Change in Attitudes toward Black Feminism

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pp. 130-150

USING DATA FROM the 1993-1994 National Black Politics Study and the 2004-2005 National Black Feminist Study, I observe a gender gap in attitudes toward black feminism among African Americans. The male-female difference is attributable...

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CHAPTER 8 Going It Alone: Black Women Activists and Black Organizational Quiescence

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pp. 151-168

THE DOMINANT CULTURE perceives African American women as aggressive in both public and private life (Bell 2004; Childs 2005; Givens and Monahan 2005). On the one hand, the characterization of Black women as aggressive suggests high levels of self-confidence...

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CHAPTER 9 Political Scientists and the Activist-Technocrat Dichotomy: The Case of John Aubrey Davis

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pp. 169-192

BY THE 1930s a small cadre of African American professionals had emerged with full-fledged graduate school training in the social science professions, and in this chapter I want to discuss the fascinating career of one such African American who gained graduate school...

PART FOUR Political Institutions

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CHAPTER 10 Dimensions of Representation and the Congressional Black Caucus

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pp. 195-211

THE CURRENT DEBATE over African American representation in the political science profession runs parallel to the debate over the value of racial diversity in legislative institutions. Both debates center around an important question: What...

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CHAPTER 11 Toward a Critical Race Theory in Political Science: A New Synthesis for Understanding Race, Law, and Politics

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pp. 212-231

THE POST-CIVIL RIGHTS ERA, described as a period of retrenchment that began in the 1980s, scholars of race, law and politics began to reassess the role of race and ethnicity in their understanding of domestic and international subordination, marginalization,...

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CHAPTER 12 Presidential Leadership and the Politics of Race: Stereotypes, Symbols, and Scholarship

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pp. 232-250

THE GRAND OR META-NARRATIVE of America is its unwavering commitment to freedom and equality.1 The presidency is the sentinel of these democratic ideals. To be faithful to these ideals, presidents must take on the issue of race straightforwardly. Yet race...

PART FIVE The Subfields

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CHAPTER 13 Comparative Politics and Asia: Contesting Hegemonic Inter- and Intra-Disciplinary Boundaries

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pp. 253-284

KARL MANNHEIM'S OBSERVATION concerning the constraints on individual views of politics is as valid today as it was nearly three-quarters of a century ago. Forced into exile as Weimar's fragile democracy succumbed to the totalizing ideology...

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CHAPTER 14 Race and the Problem of Equity in the Administrative State: Implications for Political Science Theory and Methods

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pp. 285-307

THE INCREASING COMPLEXITY and power of administrative agencies is one of the hidden crises of American politics. Policy is implemented in an array of bureaucracies at the national and subnational level. In the study of political science and public...

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CHAPTER 15 Race and the City: The View from Two Political Science Journals

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pp. 308-324

THIS ESSAY IS an exploratory examination of the ways in which political scientists have covered urban politics. What is the place of the study of urban life among American political scientists? When political science has taken up the issue of urban affairs...

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CHAPTER 16 Navigating the Muddy Waters of the Mainstream: Tracing the Mystification of Racism in International Relations

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pp. 325-363

THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN male and female PhDs in political science, the diplomat and Nobel laureate Ralph Bunche, and the disarmament specialist Merze Tate, both chose to focus on international relations (IR, or world politics) as their area of expertise. Interestingly...

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CHAPTER 17 A Critical Review of American Political Institutions: Reading Race into the Constitutional "Silence" on Race

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pp. 364-397

CLEARLY THE CONSTITUTION was not "silent" about race, nor could that "silence" be seen in the political social system that evolved from it. The compromises ratified in the original Constitution of the United States both recognized and protected slavery. Slavery and racial injustice were thus accommodated and written into...

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CHAPTER 18 Political Science Confronts Afro-America: A Reconsideration

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pp. 398-433

AS AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE, American political science has historically relegated to the margins issues pertaining to Afro-Americans, race, and anti-black white racism.1 Ralph Bunche, the first Afro- American president of the...


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pp. 434-437


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pp. 438

E-ISBN-13: 9781592131105

Publication Year: 2007