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Topographies of liberal thought: Rand and Arendt and race

Thomson, S. (2020) Topographies of liberal thought: Rand and Arendt and race. In: Cocks, N. (ed.) Questioning Ayn Rand: Subjectivity, Political Economy, and the Arts. Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 181-206. ISBN 9783030530730

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This chapter compares arguments on de-segregation in American schools, especially the 1957 ‘Little Rock incident’, as forwarded by Ayn Rand and Hannah Arendt. Both came out against moves to promote integration in classrooms, and through contrasting what might seem their aligned positions, this chapter draws out the wider stakes involved a comparative reading of their work. Central to this project, and central also to recent ‘alt-right’ contributions to debates on ‘liberalism’, are questions of topography. What are the demarcations that must be called upon when separating a celebrated theorist such as Arendt from a seemingly peripheral and problematic thinker such as Rand? And how might the difficulties involved in corralling these two impact on the kind of physical and social separations that are evoked and evaded within their racist discourse, and any subsequent critical responses to this?

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:89811
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan


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