Dilemma of Ethnic Identity

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This book discusses the nature of culture in a global era. In our era of increasing disjuncture and disparity, a new understanding of culture is needed to aid us in bridging ethnic and religious gaps. Alain Locke (1885-1994) believed that it was possible to attain world peace and order without one group of people imposing itself on the others. To achieve this, he gave a new definition of culture and society, which the author calls transcultural. This book explores Alain Locke’s ideas and how he anticipated transcultural societies as a means of attaining world peace and order.

Transculturality describes primarily the process through which cultures intermix with and borrow from one another; it describes the latent, steady transformation of an idea from place of birth to elsewhere until it no longer recognizes or belongs exclusively to that place of birth. It is Elvis Presley taking Rock and Roll out of the Black ghetto, or Eminem “whitewashing” rap; it is Dave Brubeck handling jazz as ingeniously as Seiji Ozawa conducts Beethoven’s Ode to Joy; it is the Apostle Paul taking Christianity out of its Jewish origins unto the Gentile world. Whenever an idea is denaturalized, taken out of its nativity, it no longer belongs specifically to that place; it crosses boundaries, aiming to become universal.


“This work defines the meaning of transculturalism and its current value as tool in the battle to create a cosmopolitan world ... Dr. Eze provides a masterful interpretation of Locke’s pragmatism, relativism, and cultural approach to race and ethnicity. In doing so, he offers a way to appreciate the importance of culture as a living reality rather than a static phenomenon ... Dr. Eze’s interpretation of Locke and his argument for transculturalism allows us to see that individual expressions may often be unique as well as group representations, and that the tensions between the two are part of our existential condition rather than a source of interminable alienation ... This work opens a new world – explored through philosophy, literature and history – a world of cosmopolitanism.” – (From the Preface) Professor Leonard Harris, Purdue University

Table of Contents

Preface by Leonard Harris
1. The Idea of Culture in a Transnational World
2. Minorities Between Separation and Integration
3. The New Negro as a Tenor of Alain Locke’s Vision of Society
4. Locke on Value, Art & Culture
5. Toni Morrison: The Dilemma of a Separated Community
6. Moral Imperatives for Our Global Era

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