- Paperback: 222 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 24, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415917638
- ISBN-13: 978-0415917636
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
James is an African American intellectual who has written on U.S. foreign policy and the politics of state violence (Resisting State Violence, LJ 9/1/96). Her latest book examines the historic role of intellectual leadership in the black community, with special reference to the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, Angela Davis, Toni Morrison, and Cornell West. Her primary interest is in challenging the elitism and self-absorption of academic intellectuals and in recovering the work of "nonelite" community activists who have contributed to public life through their journalism, polemics, and public speaking. Despite her sharp critique of liberal academics, her conception of the relationship of black intellectuals to movements for social justice is ultimately hopeful, noting that black progressive intellectuals "shape America's national discourse, even while agitating for inclusion within it." A thoughtful study recommended for libraries with collections in American politics or history.?Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In her excellent discussion of the origins of the term 'talented tenth'...James follows its articulation by Du Bois from 1900 onward.
Top customer reviews
She writes in the Introduction to this 1997 book, "(the book) examines the political thought of historical and contemporary black elites advocating social justice. It furthers contemporary debates by black intellectuals to argue that the erasure of black radical praxis from the continuum of American intellectualism allows contemporary elites and rhetoricians the APPEARANCE of radical progressivism... Regarding this work, some may consider its critical assessments regarding the liberalism or antiradicalism of black elites too harsh. Echoing throughout this critique of black elites and American intellectuals, however, is recognition of their contributions."
Here are some quotations from the book:
"Rather than call for the abolition of an aristocratic black vanguard ... DuBois would continue to whittle away at elitism in black leadership." (Pg. 23)
"That is, most elite intellectuals may have a limited impact on transforming oppressive conditions that nonelites endure not because they are intellectuals, but because they are elites, and, as elites, they shy away from radical confrontations for substantive political change." (Pg. 159)
"(Professor Cornel) West does not particularize his statements to his own experiences. Rather, he generalizes to all black intellectual engagement with Marxism. His only evidence is the paltry 'great literature' among black Marxists. Yet there is also a paltry amount of 'great' or even good literature by those who identify as black postmodernists, which is presumably West's own cadre of intellectuals that supplants the Marxists." (Pg. 163)