Christopher A. McAuley
“Christopher McAuley presents an interesting and well-researched work in The Mind of Oliver Cox. As McAuley notes, Oliver Cox has not received sufficient attention by scholars and intellectuals who study issues of race and class. McAuley makes a strong contribution to remedy the oversight.” —Joy James, Brown University
“This book makes a major contribution to the literature on Cox—a figure we need to know more about. It will cause many to ponder and reflect.” —Gerald Horne, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Born in Trinidad in 1901, Oliver Cromwell Cox immigrated to the United States in 1919, where he remained until his death in 1974. After earning advanced degrees in economics and sociology from the University of Chicago, Cox established himself as an impressive, but controversial, sociologist. His best-known work, Caste, Class, and Race (1948), was the first of five books that Cox would publish. In spite of his numerous scholarly contributions in the areas of social theory, political economy, and historical sociology, Cox’s significance has remained relatively unacknowledged in recent decades. In this intellectual biography, Christopher A. McAuley seeks to change that.
McAuley’s approach to Cox’s life and work is shaped by his belief that Cox’s Caribbean upbringing and background gave him an unorthodox perspective on race, capitalism, and social change. Part 1 of the book chronicles Cox’s life in Trinidad and the United States. Part 2 analyzes Cox’s theory and history of the development of capitalism from thirteenth-century Venice to twentieth-century America. Part 3 provides an exposition of Cox’s typology of race relations, as well as his thoughts on the anti-Asian movement in California and the differences between black and Jewish experiences in the West. The last section of the book focuses on Cox’s theory of social transformation, highlighting his rejection of ethnic nationalism in favor of evolutionary socialism.
The Mind of Oliver C. Cox offers a much needed analysis of Cox’s important scholarly writings as well as insight into the life of this remarkable figure.
“Christopher A. McAuley’s book is the first to delve deeply into Cox’s thinking. . . . [I]t is an excellent start. . . . McAuley provides us with a detailed understanding of how Cox’s background influenced and shaped his work. McAuley successfully demonstrates that Cox’s class analysis had its strong points but ultimately was limited with regard to understanding the full cultural context of race in America. This rich discussion deserves a close reading, especially in light of the continuing debates surrounding Black-Jewish relations. There are many such gems in this book, and many suggestive comments for further studies to pursue. McAuley is to be commended for bringing Cox out of the shadows. . . . McAuley’s intellectual examination introduces us to Cox’s oeuvre and guides us through his deep and illuminating thought. We are indebted to him for his efforts.” — American Historical Review
“Rarely have I used the words exciting, exhilarating, powerful, dynamic, and creative singularly, much less collectively, to describe one book. But these adjectives, and more, do not do McAuley’s effort justice for he has produced a truly remarkable examination of not only the work but the creative genius that can only be described as Oliver Cromwell Cox. Christopher McAuley has achieved a remarkable feat in his reconstruction, reanalysis, and critical reinterpretation of seminal works of Cox. McAuley’s book and the resurrected works of Cox are necessities for any library or analysis to be complete.” — Contemporary Sociology
“Christopher A. McAuley’s exhumation, examination, and analysis of the mind of Oliver C. Cox comes as a welcome addition to the literature and should engender more innovative scholarship on race in this highly contentious subfield of intellectual history. In sum, McAuley’s biography is a judicious work, and he has done a marvelous job of analyzing both Cox’s strengths and his weaknesses. . . . [T]his is a challenging book that makes a more than adequate case for the commencement of the University of Notre Dame Press series, the African American Intellectual Heritage.” — Journal of American History
“McAuley offers a fine survey of Cox’s overall scholarly contribution, presenting a sympathetic, though not uncritical, account. This is an excellent study of the ‘mind’ rather than the persona of Cox. Highly recommended.” — Choice