LOVE, TRAGEDY, AND POLITICS: JAMES BALDWIN

That’s a wrap! Stay tuned for our 2021 Fall Programming. Have a great Summer!

 

Online Series with Dr. Paul Kirkland

James Baldwin’s is one of the most eloquent voices in the American literary tradition. Recent interest in his writing helps us to understand our own time in light of black experience, American history, and the perennial human condition. 

In his writings, Baldwin claims that the problem of race in America stems from our failure to recognize tragedy in life. Is Baldwin right that most Americans lack a tragic sense?  What does Baldwin mean when he speaks of the “beautiful” struggle for human identity and authority — and why has his thinking resonated among so many recent authors?  Does black experience in the United States supply a possible foundation for a truly American sense of tragedy?  What do racial divisions and political questions have to do with love and tragedy? Baldwin’s thinking invites us to consider contemporary questions of race and American politics alongside age-old questions of tragedy, love, and beauty. Our series will engage such questions in the context of Baldwin’s work (and that of his contemporaries), which serves as a path into black American thought in his time and ours. The course will be anchored in Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and No Name in the Street and supplemented by Baldwin’s fiction and relevant work from the Civil Rights and Black Power eras.


INSTRUCTOR

Dr. Paul Kirkland is Associate Professor of Political Science at Carthage College, specializing in the study of political philosophy.  His Ph.D. is from Fordham University (2002).  His first book, Nietzsche’s Noble Aims: Affirming Life, Confronting Modernity was published in 2009 by Lexington Press. He has also published widely on Nietzsche; politics and literature; and African American political thought. His work focuses on authors such as Shakespeare, Schiller, Du Bois, and Ellison.  He is currently editing a volume entitled Joy and Laughter in Nietzsche’s Philosophy (Bloomsbury) and completing a book project, Nietzsche’s Tragic Political Philosophy.