Review: Allen, Talking to Strangers
The Boston Review recently reviewed Danielle Allen’s Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education. From the review by Nick Bromell: "Allen understands that democracy originates in the subjective dimension of everyday life, and she focuses on what she calls our ‘habit of citizenship’—the ways we often unconsciously regard and interact with fellow citizens…. [Her] focus on race is entirely appropriate."
"Don’t talk to strangers" is the advice long given to children by parents of all classes and races. Today it has blossomed into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound suspicion of others. In Talking to Strangers, a powerful and eloquent essay, Danielle Allen, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, takes this maxim back to Little Rock, rooting out the seeds of distrust to replace them with "a citizenship of political friendship."
Read an excerpt and interview with the author.