Political Science

Ferris Lupino

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, University of Missouri
Dissertation American Statis: Conflict, Order, and Leadership in Black Political Thought
Committee Bonnie Honig (Chair), Sharon Krause, James Morone, Graham Oliver


Job Market Title

American Stasis: Conflict, Order, & Leadership in Black Political Thought


This project looks to the canon of black political thought to find ways to rethink democratic politics and conflict. I find in post-civil rights thinkers' turns to classics a way to think about racial politics in the US. 'Stasis' is an ancient Greek concept meaning faction. It connotes both rest and unrest. This gives thinkers a way to describe conflict as both constraining and potentially enabling at the same time. I look at how canonical black thinkers from the long civil rights movement respond to stasis and note that they draw, in turn, on classical figures and themes to do so. Du Bois turns to charisma, Ellison to a tricksterism located in the figure of Odysseus, and Baldwin to Greek ideas of love. The aim of the project is to find in what seems like a conservative move—the turn to the classics—what might be a kernel of radicalism, and to assess the ability of the authors to secure it in this way.