The author of the 2007 book, “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America,” Eddie Glaude Jr. described today’s American democracy as one in turmoil in his remarks at Franklin & Marshall’s Sept. 12 Common Hour. Glaude pointed to rising white supremacy and federal government policies aimed at preventing people of color from entering the United States, including those in desperate need, such as hurricane-ravaged Bahamians.
“We’re in the midst of a crisis right now about who we think ourselves to be as a country,” Glaude said. “That crisis has everything to do with the browning of America and with the fact that the country doesn’t feel like the America that we love.”
Glaude, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Department of African American Studies and Department of Religion at Princeton University, is considered one of America’s top scholars on African American religion, literature, and race and politics in America. “Shade of Blue” and the 2016 “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul” examine deep complexities, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for hope in black communities.
Glaude’s research includes American pragmatism, specifically the work of early 20th-century philosopher, psychologist and education reformer John Dewey, and the place African American religious history has in public life.
“I’ve been reading Dewey for years,” said Glaude, who was mentored on Dewey’s views on pragmatism by American intellectual Cornel West, at the time a philosophy professor at Princeton. “Cornel West introduced me to John Dewey through his  book, ‘The American Evasion of Philosophy,’ and I just thought his reading of Dewey was wrong. I thought it was too Rortyan [pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty], so we’ve been having that argument for 30 years.”
Glaude writes a column for Time magazine and appears regularly on radio and television news programs like Democracy Now!, Morning Joe, and the 11th Hour. He’s presently at work on a book about James Baldwin, with the working title, “James Baldwin’s America, 1963-1972.”
Glaude spoke at Common Hour, a community discussion held each Thursday classes are in session at Franklin & Marshall. This Common Hour was the latest “Gamechangers” event for the academic year; these events celebrate milestones from the past and challenges for the future. More information and a calendar of upcoming events can be found here.