Miller Center

Racial Orders in American Political Development

Speaker: Rogers Smith
Date: April 8, 2004
Time: 12:00 PM

Rogers Smith is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The following summary excerpt from the paper provides an overview of the talk:

"We stress in closing that our argument has not been that race explains everything in American politics, or even that race is always important for every dimension of American political development. It is instead that the internal dynamics of American racial orders, and their interactions with each other and with other aspects of American political life, have so often been so important that the question of what role race may be playing should always be part of political science inquiries. Our “racial orders” thesis is debatable. But we hope we have at least made the case that such debates are needed; and that the case for regarding race as an essential component of most if not all important aspects of American development is sufficiently strong that while it can, in some contexts, be rebutted, it should never be ignored. For the failure of political scientists to deal adequately with race in their scholarship has been an all too significant part of the failure of Americans to deal adequately with race in their common lives. That bleak reality makes this failure one that our discipline has a special need, and a special duty, to rectify."


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