Date of Award
Master of Arts
In this thesis I propose that Alain Locke’s pluralistic cosmopolitanism can serve as a middle ground between integrationist and separatist measurements of racial progress. Using Gary Peller’s article “Race-Consciousness” as a focal point, I argue that Locke’s philosophy can adequately address concerns held by both integrationists and separatists. In Chapter One, I lay out the historical foundations and subsequent debate between integrationists and separatists, and analyze Peller’s challenge of integrationist ideologies of the sixties and seventies. Using his article to highlight the often-neglected separatist position, Chapter Two then proposes Locke’s pluralistic cosmopolitanism as a potential middle ground for addressing separatists’ concerns with integrationist ideology and vice versa. Locke’s emphasis on unity in diversity, his three working principles—cultural equivalence, cultural reciprocity, and limited cultural convertibility—his critical relativism, and his heavy involvement with the Harlem Renaissance makes his philosophical approach useful in addressing concerns not only of black separatists/nationalists but integrationists as well.
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