Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education” as Want to Read:
Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
"Don't talk to strangers" is the advice long given to children by parents of all classes and races. Today it has blossomed into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound suspicion of others. In this powerful and eloquent essay, Danielle Allen, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, takes this maxim back t ...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by University Of Chicago Press (first published January 1st 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Talking to Strangers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Talking to Strangers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 226)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 26, 2007 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Citizens
I've read FOUR chapters and I'm excited.

The book reads like a series of well-integrated lectures, and that's a compliment. My ears perked when I realized she was redefining (as in, again defining) citizenship as a relationship between citizens, as well as one between an individual and the state.

NEW Questions I'm asking my margins:

How can we revive "good citizenship" in its most robust meaning?

OTHER questions:

Does tolerance as an "ethical norm" exacerbate social, especially interracial, distrust
Ft. Sheridan
Jul 04, 2009 Ft. Sheridan rated it really liked it
Trust, democracy, ethics...right up m'alley. Also, I had a dream about D-Allen once (no MLK joke).
Jun 20, 2015 Katharine rated it it was amazing
I am so thankful to have stumbled upon Danielle Allen - her writing is interdisciplinary, relevant, and accessible. In this book, Allen argues that the language we have been using in our conversations about race is wholly ineffective. Since our nation's founding, our culture has held the idea of a united nation ("one nation") as the ultimate goal. Allen reimagines what our society might be like if we, instead, strived to be a "whole nation."

Allen argues that we need a diverse politics, one that
Jul 11, 2013 Lee rated it it was amazing
The first point of interest about this book is its genre. It begins as something of a historical narrative, going over in depth the story of the Little Rock Nine, and discussing the repercussions of that event (including, Allen claims, the reconstituting of the United States). As the book moves on, it becomes more and more of a treatise on political philosophy. Which was great. I love political philosophy.

There are two main works, I would say, which we’ll say influenced heavily her writing. The
I read this back in 2005 or 2006 for the first time and it left a deep impression. Returning to it eight years later I was captivated all over again.

Allen draws from the integration of Central High in Little Rock, Ralph Ellison (especially the enigmatic Invisible Man), Aristotle, and Thomas Hobbes among others to construct her argument. In sum, Allen argues that the everyday practices of individual citizens are the bedrock of a functioning democracy and lays out the practices that constitute pol
Brad East
Apr 16, 2016 Brad East rated it it was amazing
Lovely prose, impressive command of a wide range of topics and texts, and a compelling recommendation for political friendship as a normative ideal in democratic society. Difficult to evaluate, and at times bordering on the utopian, but an excellent read regardless.
Jan 25, 2008 Irami added it
Allen takes the Little Rock, Arkansas debacle of 1957 as a point of departure to show that no matter what laws are passed by congress or decided by the Supreme Court, unless you change the customary habits of citizenship of the people involved, one can only ever win a hollow victory for civil rights. The problem is that changing the customary habits of the citizenry is harder than passing a law. Changing the habits of citizenship requires that everyone become an enlightened citizen, willing to t ...more
Kabrina Shamburger
May 09, 2014 Kabrina Shamburger rated it really liked it
Very interesting analysis of a post-civil rights movement America.
Lisa Findley
Jul 01, 2009 Lisa Findley rated it really liked it
I read this at my friend Mike's urging, and I'm glad I did, but more because it helped round out the ideas he and I have been discussing for the past few months and less for the writing itself. Building a trust-based democracy of full citizens instead of the fearful country we currently have is important work, and I liked Allen's ideas on how we got here and how we get there.
Mar 21, 2007 Maria marked it as to-read
When I discovered this book at Ruth's house, I read the first ten pages and am now hooked. I shall read. Oh, and one would do well to take Ruth's book recommendations, except about Crime and Punishment!!
I did start this at one point, but was derailed somewhere around chapter 5 or 6. Armed with a new copy, I think it's time to pick it back up.
Dec 19, 2011 Kaia rated it really liked it
I read this for my publics theories class. It was the most interesting read: a blend of rhetoric, politics, and critical race theory.
Joseph T
Nov 12, 2012 Joseph T rated it really liked it
The book was an incredible commentary on citizenship and provides a wonderful expansion of collective ritual ideas.
m. soria
Feb 20, 2010 m. soria rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
what's up civic knowledge project!!!
Lisa Lewton
Lisa Lewton marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2016
Ashley marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2016
Anita marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2016
Jen marked it as to-read
Jul 08, 2016
Amal I-L
Amal I-L marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2016
Frances marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2016
Beverlee marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
Cody Bertram
Cody Bertram marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
angela v. teaff
angela v. teaff marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2016
Shannon Simcox
Shannon Simcox marked it as to-read
Jun 10, 2016
Julia marked it as to-read
Jun 02, 2016
Melody marked it as to-read
Jun 01, 2016
Nat marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
The Ninja Squirrel
The Ninja Squirrel marked it as to-read
May 22, 2016
Harrison marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2016
Nathan marked it as to-read
May 12, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945-1990
  • The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics
  • Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle
  • Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th-Century America
  • How Race Survived US History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon
  • Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City
  • The Invention of the White Race: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America (Volume 2) (Haymarket Series)
  • Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940
  • The House That Race Built: Original Essays by Toni Morrison, Angela Y. Davis, Cornel West, and Others on Black Americans and Politics in America Today
  • Jane Austen, Game Theorist
  • A Rap on Race
  • Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America
  • The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness
  • Black Bourgeoisie
  • The Public and its Problems
  • Miss Whittier Makes a List
  • Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights: 1919-1950
  • Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy
Trained both as a classicist and a political theorist, Dr. Allen is a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her particular interests are democratic theory, political sociology, the linguistic dimensions of politics and the history of political thought.

Dr. Allen received her undergraduate educatio
More about Danielle S. Allen...

Share This Book