This dissertation advances the claim that sonship has been devalued, if not rendered of no benefit at all, in our hyper-masculine sociopolitical orbit. However, so much is lost, namely, psychological and spiritual well-being, when a man, no matter the hue of his skin, is not aware of the succor that sonship provides. For black men, though, the acute effects of this loss are even more disturbing, particularly as many of these men cannot meet the mythological standards of normative patriarchal manhood. To substantiate this claim, the first two chapters of the dissertation critiques the sociopolitical formation of the patriarch during early-American history, with specific consideration given to the time preceding the Industrial Revolution, a time during which the patriarch loomed large within the familial milieu. The next two chapters are devoted to an extensive atomization of the near evisceration of sonship within black manhood. From the controversial "Moynihan Report" to the writings of such prominent black scholars as Na'im Akbar and Haki R. Madhubuti, one finds that, even when convincing prescriptives are put forth in regards to how best to address the problems of black manhood, such propositions are still suffuse with the verbiage of patriarchal discourse. In the three subsequent chapters, I employ a con-polar methodology, a new analytical tool that traces the mutual involvement of two categories that are in opposition, to examine the troubled sonship experiences of two con-polar African American males: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Richard Wright. Their sonship stories are instructive in that the religious dimensions of sonship, and religious (from the Latin religare) is used here to mean "refasten" or "reconnect," can be a means of bringing one in contact with a salubrious sense of selfhood, not to mention the added benefit of restoring a broken relationship between oneself and a lost love object. In the concluding chapter the revolutionary lynchpin of this dissertation comes to the fore by insisting that black men, throughout the life-cycle, must not avail themselves of sonship's unabashed "Not-Yet" comportment. Using Hegel's master-slave dialectic and theories of hope crafted by Jurgen Moltmann, Rubem Alves, and Ernst Bloch, the dissertation suggests that black men must uphold their discontinuity, that is, the perpetual development of their manhood, as not being at variance with but, rather, as a telling manifestation of the essence of their being, which participates in the processual development of all of creation. In sum, The Son Will Shine Again champions the view that the current problematics of black manhood must not only inspire but facilitate the emergence of the new, the innovative, and, dare I say, the avant-garde, a veritable sonship that can loose black men from the deforming shackles of patriarchal manhood.
Table of Contents
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About this Dissertation
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