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John Anderson

State, supporters argued that it involved a return to the sort of religious influences that helped to shape American democracy in the first place. Into this debate about ‘a nation with the soul of a church’ weighed Samuel Huntington, though his concerns extended beyond the religious issue to wider questions about American identity. Painting with typical broad-brush strokes, he expressed the fear that a variety of trends might be undermining the ‘Anglo-Protestant culture’ which underpinned American democracy and even American ‘civilisation’ itself. 1

in Christianity and democratisation
Open Access (free)
Race and the Tragedy of American Democracy
Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

In this essay, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. addresses the historical and contemporary failures of American democracy. Using the metaphor of “the magician’s serpent,” Glaude brings Walt Whitman’s views on democracy into the full light of America’s failure to resolve the problem of race. Glaude places Whitman’s Democratic Vistas (1871) in conversation with James Baldwin’s No Name in the Street (1972) in order to construct a different sort of reading practice that can both engage with Whitman’s views on democracy and reckon with what George Hutchinson calls Whitman’s “white imperialist self and ideology” as an indication of the limits of a certain radical democratic imagining.

James Baldwin Review
From pious subjects to critical participants

This book examines the contribution of different Christian traditions to the waves of democratisation that have swept various parts of the world in recent decades, offering an historical overview of Christianity's engagement with the development of democracy, before focusing in detail on the period since the 1970s. Successive chapters deal with: the Roman Catholic conversion to democracy and the contribution of that church to democratisation; the Eastern Orthodox ‘hesitation’ about democracy; the alleged threat to American democracy posed by the politicisation of conservative Protestantism; and the likely impact on democratic development of the global expansion of Pentecostalism. The author draws out several common themes from the analysis of these case studies, the most important of which is the ‘liberal-democracy paradox’. This ensures that there will always be tensions between faiths which proclaim some notion of absolute truth and political order, and which are also rooted in the ideas of compromise, negotiation and bargaining.

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Rachel Sykes
Jennifer Daly
, and
Anna Maguire Elliot

power and the governmental dumping of nuclear waste, issues of American democracy and the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, and the state of political thought in the contemporary United States. Read for the breadth and contemporaneity of her preoccupations, Robinson's writing reveals a profound and sustained engagement with present-day issues across a broad spectrum of social concerns and academic disciplines. She issues a challenge to readers to think more about what religious or rural writing might be with characteristic and measured

in Marilynne Robinson
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Why it matters
Jack Lawrence Luzkow

and equality in America Alexis de Tocqueville, a keen observer of America in the nineteenth century, was aristocratic by birth, democratic by sentiment, and a lover of liberty by philosophical inclination. He believed that American democracy could only be fulfilled if liberty was joined to equality. He warned against the emergence of a new elite, or a new aristocracy based on manufacturing wealth, and believed that equality and liberty were not only compatible but were both also necessary for the happiness of human beings. His opening passages in Democracy in

in The great forgetting
Spaces for argument and agreement
Wendy James

revivals, and suggests that over time, this vision of American democracy has fed into the mainstream, informing the oratory of Obama himself. He asks if it is also not a fact that ‘many of the difficulties that threaten us proceed directly from theologies proclaiming monopolies of wisdom and impatient of religious pluralism?’ Matthew Spooner recalls in his response to Schama’s argument that Abraham Lincoln himself pointed out that those who fought to preserve slavery, as well as those who fought against it, ‘read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke

in Religion and rights
Tim Aistrope

American culture. A crucial starting point here is Richard Hofstadter’s paradigmatic account of ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’, which locates conspiracy theories on the periphery of pluralistic American democracy as the irrational pathology of angry extremists, and contrasts it with a rational political centre where sensible politics occurs. Although Hofstadter wrote

in Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy
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Carla Konta

This chapter investigates the multifaceted cultural program at the American posts in Belgrade and Zagreb, its aims, content and target public. As locations of the cultural vanguard, USIS attracted prominent Yugoslav intellectual and cultural intelligentsia. With 11,000 copies of the daily Bilten, and 25,000 of Pregled, a local USIS magazine, the American centres promoted book, magazine, exhibit, lecture, English teaching, music, and film-lending programs with the priority of advancing US foreign policy and disseminating American values and ideals. It analyses the major themes around which the library program revolved, such as American democracy, capitalism, and freedom. This chapter relies on four interviews of former USIS employees and visitors: USIS Zagreb library director, Nada Apsen, USIS Zagreb librarian, Zdenka Nikolić, USIS Belgrade librarian, Petar Nikolić, and Sonja Bašić, a Yugoslav USIS user.

in US public diplomacy in socialist Yugoslavia, 1950–70

Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society and socialism as freedom in a complex society. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.

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American horror comics as Cold War commentary and critique

Printing Terror places horror comics of the mid-twentieth century in dialogue with the anxieties of their age. It rejects the narrative of horror comics as inherently and necessarily subversive and explores, instead, the ways in which these texts manifest white male fears over America’s changing sociological landscape. It examines two eras: the pre-CCA period of the 1940s and 1950s, and the post-CCA era to 1975. The authors examine each of these periods through the lenses of war, gender, and race, demonstrating that horror comics are centred upon white male victimhood and the monstrosity of the gendered and/or racialised other. It is of interest to scholars of horror, comics studies, and American history. It is suitably accessible to be used in undergraduate classes.