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How to Read Deliberatively

How to Read Deliberatively

(p.180) Seven How to Read Deliberatively
Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic
Sandra M. Gustafson
University of Chicago Press

This chapter offers models of deliberative reading in discussions of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and William Apess's Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Marshpee Tribe; or, The Pretended Riot Explained (1835). It suggests that by highlighting the imaginative and aesthetic contributions that deliberation makes to civic life, literary works can be used to enhance deliberative democracy. An interpretive focus on scenes of deliberation concentrates on their verbal and physical elements, their procedural components, and their intersubjective and social dimensions, including power relations that can introduce inequalities into the process. The chapter examines the nature of property by staging an imagined deliberation among several writers in order to suggest the pervasiveness and variety of economic thinking in the period and to uncover points of overlap as well as difference.

Keywords:   deliberative reading, James Fenimore Cooper, William Apess, deliberative democracy, property, economic thinking, civic life

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