Author's Final Manuscript
Political Research Quarterly
This essay interprets Baldwin as continuing the Socratic practice of self-examination and social criticism while also shifting his Socratic undertaking by charting the limits of examination created by the harsh effects of race and slavery in the United States. I argue that Baldwin's Socratic practice inflects not only his essays – the center of previous analyses – but also his fictions. By transposing Socrates to issues of race in twentieth-century America and confronting the incoherent effects of a racialized society, James Baldwin thus carries forward and transforms a pivotal figure in the history of political thought.
This article was originally published in Political Research Quarterly and is available here: http://prq.sagepub.com/content/66/3/487.
Schlosser, Joel Alden (2013). "Socrates in a Different Key: James Baldwin and Race in America." Political Research Quarterly 66.3, 487-499.