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Title page for ETD etd-03232015-130857

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Siracusa, Anthony Christopher III
Author's Email Address anthony.c.siracusa.iii@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03232015-130857
Title Disrupting the Calculation of Violence: James M. Lawson, Jr. and the Politics of Nonviolence
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dennis C. Dickerson Committee Member
Sarah Igo Committee Member
  • race
  • us politics
  • james lawson
  • nonviolence
  • civil rights
  • south
  • power
  • being
Date of Defense 2015-04-30
Availability unrestricted
This paper suggests nonviolence in the United States was a form of moral being with roots in Gandhism and the Christian tradition whose central architect was James M. Lawson, Jr. Commonly described as a leading “tactician” of nonviolence in the United States, this paper argues Lawson’s primary contribution to nonviolence was not tactical but intellectual, the adaptation of Gandhism into a mode of moral being calibrated to the particular political and racial context of the US South. Conceived as a moral method of social engagement, the politics of nonviolence contrasted sharply with the immoral system of racialized violence in the US. In tracing the intellectual lineage of nonviolence through the thinking and writings of Mohandas Gandhi, A.J. Muste, Howard Thurman, and James M. Lawson, this paper argues James Lawson’s reinterpretation of these previous religious intellectuals led him to conceive of nonviolence as a moral mode of political being in the modern United States.
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