Catena mundi and the Institute of European Studies have published a book by IES research associate Stevan Gajić, From Slave to Citizen: The Struggle of African Americans for the Recognition of Humanity, the first work in Serbian on African American political thought.
Gajic explores the ideas of African-American thinkers Frederick Douglas and William Du Bois, which are still relevant today for understanding relations in American society, especially their different views on the future of African-Americans.
The book presents a thesis on the close connection between Douglas’ ideas and the opinion of the British statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon, which has been promoted by researchers so far. Douglas saw the United States as a new organism and, in the wake of Bacon’s New Atlantis, considered it to have a messianic role in the world. Analyzing the “exceptionality” of the Americans, which is implied in the majority of the American elite, Gajić points out that at the root of that belief is Bacon’s New Atlantis and John Locke’s theory of natural law. “Excellence and uniqueness” is constantly manifested in US foreign policy by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and the first president of African descent, Barack Obama, emphasized American “excellence.”
Gajic’s analysis of the similarity of the key ideas of Du Bois and the Russian thinker Nikolai Trubetzkoy is also original, which has also not been noticed so far, although Du Boyce’s concept of dual consciousness is strikingly similar to Trubetzkoy’s theory that cosmopolitanism is “hidden Romano-Germanic chauvinism”.
The final pages are filled with observations about the social conflicts that culminated in the 2020 elections, the multitude of intertwined processes in the United States related to identity, race, loss of national consensus, movement and militia activities and ideological confrontations whose consequences are yet to come.