“In [Ralph] Ellison’s America…”

In [Ralph] Ellison‘s America, the central challenge for the ‘inner eye’ was that of race, a stigmatized position almost impossible for the conventional white reader to inhabit. For [Rabindranath] Tagore…, a particular cultural blind spot was the agency and intelligence of women, and he ingeniously devised ways to promote a fuller curiosity and respect between the sexes. Both writers claim that information about social stigma and inequality will not convey the full understanding a democratic citizen needs without a participatory experience of the stigmatized position, which theater and literature both enable. The reflections of Tagore and Ellison suggest that schools that omit the arts omit essential occasions for democratic understanding.

~ Martha Nussbaum, in Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanitiesmaking the case that arts education and the democratic imagination go hand in hand

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