The Political Science Educational Philosophy of Ralph Bunche: Theory and Practice

By Walton, Hanes, Jr. | The Journal of Negro Education, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

The Political Science Educational Philosophy of Ralph Bunche: Theory and Practice


Walton, Hanes, Jr., The Journal of Negro Education


This article is based upon a textual analysis of Ralph Bunche's writings since 1940 to determine the nature, scope, and significance of his educational philosophy of the discipline of political science. From this textual analysis of his writings, the article finds that five major intellectual categories emerged from his writings and notes; whether those categories were original ones and/or whether they were modifications of categories already in existence. After having evaluated the original and secondary nature of these categories, this article indicates that Bunche's educational philosophy created a different perspective and vision for the discipline. Herein lays his great contribution.

Embedded in Ralph Bunche's writings and organizational practices is a unique and exceptional conceptualization of political science as a discipline. This conceptualization and vision, which we shall call an educational philosophy, is not to be found in a single coherent and comprehensive publication, document, and/or volume. Yet, it does exist in his wide and diverse and scattered writings and leadership roles and practices in the Howard University Department of Political Science, the presidency of the American Political Science Association, positions at the U.S. Department of State, and in leadership positions at the United Nations. It is also to be found in his four research memoranda for the Gunnar Myrdal report, An American Dilemma, and in his field research in South Africa (Edgar, 1992; Grantham, 1973). Here, in these sundry works, Bunche left an intellectual record, and it is possible to delineate from that record of scholarship and field studies his conceptualization of Political Science as a discipline that challenges, contrasts, and diverges sharply with the dominant and consensus one now describing the discipline.

DATA AND METHODOLOGY

Bunche delivered his presidential address to the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Chicago, Illinois on September 9, 1954 which just happened to be the 50th anniversary of the organization (Bunche, 1954). Using this unique moment in time, as well as this historic occasion (of being the first African American to serve as President of the APSA), this President told the membership that the nation state and the international community had certain problem areas, which merited greater attention from the discipline of political science (Bunche, 1954).

Among the problems that Bunche noted were "the problem of colonialism, particularly of colonial Africa"; the fear, intolerance, suspicion, and confusion emanating from racial demagogues; and the second-class citizenship emerging from racial segregation, White supremacy, and disenfranchisement (Bunche, 1954, p. 969). In Bunche's view, these grave problems had been ignored by the discipline. These pressing problem areas facing the profession and society threatened both freedom and democracy (Bunche, 1954). But perhaps most importantly is not Bunche's identification of these problems, but what they offer in terms of insights into the mind of a public intellectual who happens to be an African American political scientist. Undergirding these poignant remarks and suggestions is a vision and perspective of the discipline of political science that, while borne of the past and present, offers a course correction and reform for the future.

To see this vision and perspective with its proposed reforms for an academic discipline and professional organization, this study will begin with a textual analysis of Bunche's post-1940 writings and delineate from those works and the appropriate secondary sources the seminal intellectual categories of his educational philosophy. Moreover, the study will reconstruct, from these categories of ideas and reflections, a systematic and holistic portrait of Bunche's desired political science education.

1940 was chosen as the point of departure for this study because in this Special Issue there is an article by Jonathan Scott Holloway which offers an excellent exposition of Bunche's intellectual ideas from the early 1930s until the 1940s.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Political Science Educational Philosophy of Ralph Bunche: Theory and Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.