Routledge – 2016 – 128 pages
Series: Thinking in Action
On Obama examines some of the key philosophical questions that accompany the historic emergence of the 44th US president. The purpose of the book is to take seriously the once-common thought that Mr. Obama had ushered in a post-historical age. Three questions organize the argument of the book. Has the US become post-racial? Does Obama’s pragmatism show the way to a post-partisan approach to politics? And does the reining in of US power and ambitions signal the emergence of a post-imperial moment? The book does not answer these questions directly, but considers how Mr. Obama’s public image and career raise the questions, and experiments with some lines of thought that emerge in their light.
"In this work of nuanced complexity, Taylor reminds us that at its best philosophy is a supreme form of cultural criticism aimed at both slowing and making visible the currents of thought defining the eras in which we live. With that in mind, he turns his attention and ours to President Obama as the embodied nexus of both racism and racialism and our desire to move beyond both. This is not fast food, but a slow cooked meal with ideas that are fresh, deliciously rewarding and satisfying."
Noliwe M. Rooks, Cornell University, USA
"With dusk having descended on the ‘Age of Obama,’ the owl of Minerva brilliantly takes flight in Paul Taylor’s scrupulous, deep thinking, and richly insightful essay on a presidency widely believed to be ‘post-historical.’ On Obama is publically engaged philosophy at its best: analytically astute and gracefully written, it invites us to take seriously the intellectual impulses behind the idea that the Obama presidency has been a genuine harbinger of ‘change.’"
Robert Gooding-Williams, Columbia University, USA
"The Obama presidency calls out for serious philosophical reflection. With intelligence and eloquence, wit and wisdom, Paul Taylor has answered. In this thoughtful, wide-ranging, and accessible meditation on the historical and normative significance of Obama, he pushes us to think more honestly about race, pragmatism, and empire at this unexpected moment when the most powerful political leader in the world is black."
Tommie Shelby, Harvard University, USA
Introduction: The Post-Historical Presidency 1. On Post-Racialism: The President as Racial Project 2. On Post-Partisanship: The President as Pragmatist 3. On Post-Imperialism: The World’s Moses, America’s Zipporah 4. Conclusion: The End of the End
Paul C. Taylor teaches philosophy and African American studies at Pennsylvania State University.