Race and the Making of American Political Science

Race and the Making of American Political Science

Jessica Blatt

216 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth Mar 2018 | ISBN 9780812250046 | Add to cart $55.00s | Outside N. America £45.00
Ebook Mar 2018 | ISBN 9780812294897 | Add to cart $55.00s | £36.00 | About
A volume in the series American Governance: Politics, Policy, and Public Law
View table of contents and excerpt

"Jessica Blatt has written a fine book. She is correct that race is a dimension of disciplinary history that has not been seriously explored. Everyone notices the founding generation's Teutonism, but none of the major historical studies have taken it seriously as a species of racialism or examined its lingering consequences."—Dorothy Ross, Johns Hopkins University

"Race and the Making of American Political Science illuminates key elements in the past of American political science—the founding of the discipline around a core racialist scheme and the subsequent evolution of ideas about race within the discipline as practitioners adapted to the rise of U.S. power in the world."—Howard Brick, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Race and the Making of American Political Science shows that changing scientific ideas about racial difference were central to the academic study of politics as it emerged in the United States. From the late nineteenth century through the 1930s, scholars of politics defined and continually reoriented their field in response to the political imperatives of the racial order at home and abroad as well to as the vagaries of race science.

The Gilded Age scholars who founded the first university departments and journals located sovereignty and legitimacy in a "Teutonic germ" of liberty planted in the new world by Anglo-Saxon settlers and almost extinguished in the conflict over slavery. Within a generation, "Teutonism" would come to seem like philosophical speculation, but well into the twentieth century, major political scientists understood racial difference to be a fundamental shaper of political life. They wove popular and scientific ideas about race into their accounts of political belonging, of progress and change, of proper hierarchy, and of democracy and its warrants. And they attended closely to new developments in race science, viewing them as central to their own core questions. In doing so, they constructed models of human difference and political life that still exert a powerful hold on our political imagination today, in and outside of the academy.

By tracing this history, Jessica Blatt effects a bold reinterpretation of the origins of U.S. political science, one that embeds that history in larger processes of the co-production of racial ideas, racial oppression, and political knowledge.

Jessica Blatt is Associate Professor of Political Science at Marymount Manhattan College.

| View your shopping cart | Browse Penn Press titles in Political Science, Public Policy | Join our mailing list