a1 University of Virginia
In recent decades, the concept of “the people” has received sustained theoretical attention. Unfortunately, political theorists have said very little about its explicit or implicit use in thinking about the expansion of the American polity along racial lines. The purpose of this article in taking up this issue is twofold: first, to provide a substantive account of the meaning of “the people”—what I call its descriptive and aspirational dimensions—and second, to use that description as a framework for understanding the rhetorical character of W.E.B. Du Bois's classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, and its relationship to what one might call the cognitive–affective dimension of judgment. In doing so, I argue that as a work of political theory, Souls draws a connection between rhetoric, on the one hand, and emotional states such as sympathy and shame, on the other, to enlarge America's political and ethical imagination regarding the status of African-Americans.
c1 Melvin L. Rogers is Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia, 1540 Jefferson Park Avenue, P.O. Box 400787, Charlottesville, VA 22904 (firstname.lastname@example.org). In June 2012, he will be Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Emory University, 561 S. Kilgo Circle, Bowden Hall, Atlanta, GA 30322.
For helpful comments I thank the co-editors and three anonymous reviewers, as well as Lawrie Balfour, Amrita Basu, Nolan Bennett, Ben Berger, Colin Bird, Thomas Dumm, Paul Franco, Jason Frank, Eddie Glaude, George Klosko, Isis Leslie, Bryan McKenzie, Andrew Murphy, Carol Nackenoff, Joel Olson, Lucius Outlaw, Keith Reeves, Jen Rubenstein, Austin Sarat, Kim Smith, Simon Stow, John Stuhr, Christina Tarnopolosky, Bob Pepperman Taylor, Ian Ward, Vesla Weaver, Stephen White, Jean Yarbrough, and Alex Zakaras. I also extend thanks to conference and public talk participants at the American Philosophies Forum, the American Political Science Association Meeting, Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Cornell University, the Society for Phenomenology and Existentialism Conference, Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, the University of Vermont, and the University of Virginia for comments on a previous version of this article. Special thanks to Jack Turner and Christopher Lebron for closely engaging the article.