Professor of American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
English Department, Bartlett Hall
130 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsBromell studies “public philosophy” – the ideas about democracy that Americans use in order to understand their democracy and their role as citizens. Bromell is especially concerned with helping to craft a “post-liberal” public philosophy that offers a compelling progressive alternative to the radical conservative public philosophy that has gained much ground since the demise of liberalism. Unlike most others who work in this area, he finds sources for a progressive alternative in the words and works of Americans of color – not just in such conventional places as the words of the Founders, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, et al.
The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of U.S. Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Breaks from the dualism that has defined many studies of black political thought as a perpetual struggle between nationalist and integrationist strands, and offers an alternative set of organizing concepts.
"Democratic Indignation: Black American Thought and the Politics of Dignity" Political Theory 41, no. 2 (2013): 285-311.
Argues that a particular form of anger – “democratic indignation” – is indispensable to democracy.
"All Politics is Faith-Based Politics: Finding the Way with Wittgenstein and Malcolm X" Raritan 32, no. 3 (2013): 140-159.
Argues that liberals and progressives should accept that their deepest political commitments rest on faith.
"Postwar Liberalism as a Usable Past? The Rewards and Risks of Historical Revisionism" American Quarterly 59, no. 1 (2007): 179-190.
Analyzes whether liberalism remains a viable public philosophy in the 21st century.
"Scooter and Me: Professing Liberal Doubt in an Age of Fundamentalist Fervor" The American Scholar 76, no. 1 (2007): 56-68.
Draws on the author’s friendship with Scooter Libby to probe what distinguishes liberals and progressives from conservatives.
Talks and Briefings
"The Liberal Foreign Policy Tradition: Pluses, Problems, and Prospects," Conference co-convener, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, January 10, 2008.
"Democratic Vistas: How Can American Studies Scholars Engage with Public Policy?," Roundtable participant, American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, October 12, 2007.