What’s in a world? Du Bois and Heidegger on politics, aesthetics, and foundings

Contemporary Political Theory 18 (2):180-201 (2019)
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Central to W.E.B. Du Bois’s political theory is a conception of “world” remarkably similar to that put forward, years later, by Martin Heidegger. This point is more methodological than historical: I claim that approaching Du Bois’s work as a source, rather than as a product, of concepts that resonated with subsequent thinkers allows us to better appreciate the novelty and vision of his political theory. Exploring this resonance, I argue, helps to refine the notions of world and founding present in each theorist’s work. Yet, it is only by remaining attentive to their differences that we can understand how Du Bois and Heidegger could endorse such dramatically opposed political programs despite similar theoretical starting points.

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Ross Mittiga
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


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