W.E.B. Du Bois’s socialism has provoked debate for decades. His democratic theory and critique of political economy supports democratic socialism. In this article, I offer a philosophical reconstruction of the normative foundation of his democratic socialism in three steps. First, I argue that his philosophy of the modern democratic state supports the people’s advance of the principle of free and equal citizenship or civic equality. Next, I present his critique of the modern American welfare state, which asserts the fair value (...) of political liberty and democratic control over productive activities. Finally, I introduce the method of the excluded groups from Darkwater as an ideal procedure for guiding democratic deliberation in a profoundly nonideal public sphere. The method foregrounds the voices of excluded groups to correct asymmetrical relations of practical power and to infuse democratic reason with practical intelligence, namely, new content and values that can lead to the development of a democratic socialist state. (shrink)
The concept of wilderness found in the black American intellectual tradition poses a provocative alternative to the preservationist concept. For black writers, the wilderness is not radically separate from human society but has an important historical and social dimension. Nor is it merely a feature of the external landscape; there is also a wilderness within, a vital energy that derives from and connects one to the external wilderness. Wilderness is the origin and foundation of culture; preserving it means preserving not (...) merely the physical landscape but our collective memory of it. But black writers also highlight the racial essentialism that infuses both their own and traditional American concepts of the wild, giving us greater insight into why the wilderness celebrated by preservationists can be a problematic value for racial minorities. (shrink)
The paper adopts philosophical research methodologies of conceptual clarification, critical analysis, and extensive argumentation. It attempts to jointly employ African metaphysical and epistemological grounds to address the problem of finding appropriate justification for reparations for Africa on the issue of past slavery and slave trade. The paper states that the crux of the problem is how to formulate a coherent theoretical framework, which provides a strong connection between the direct victims of slavery and slave trade and their descendants in Africa, (...) on the basis of which the latter could justifiably claim for restitutive justice against the wrong done to the former. Western traditional accounts usually define reparations such that the concept only intelligibly applies to moral relations among contemporaries, not between the departed and the living. This reasoning, therefore, forecloses any moral relations between the departed and the living, making it morally unjustifiable for the latter to claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the former. However, this study re-thinks the concept of reparations, using two core areas of African philosophy. African metaphysics recognizes that an experiential being is ontologically connected to the other, that is, any other experiential being and spirits, inclusive of ancestors. This relationship also invariably closes the epistemological gap between the experiential and non-experiential worlds, making them a unity within African cosmology. Situated within the present study, the foregoing shows that the living could justifiably claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the departed, the direct victims of slavery and slave trade. (shrink)
A special issue of _The Philosophical Forum_, one of the most prestigious philosophy journals, is now available to a wider readership through its publication in book form. The volume includes twelve essays in three sections-- Philosophical Traditions; the African-American Tradition; and Racism, Identity, and Social Life. Contributors are: K. Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, Lucius Outlaw, Leonard Harris, Bernard Boxill, Frank M. Kirkland, Tommy L. Lott, Adrian M.S. Piper, Laurence Thomas, Michele M. Moody-Adams, Anita L. Allen, and Howard McGary. The introduction (...) is by John P. Pittman. (shrink)
Focused on preparing educators to teach African American students, this straightforward and teacher-friendly text features a careful balance of published scholarship, a framework for culturally relevant and critical pedagogy, research-based case studies of model teachers, and tested culturally relevant practical strategies and actionable steps teachers can adopt. Its premise is that teachers who understand Black culture as an asset rather than a liability and utilize teaching techniques that have been shown to work can and do have specific positive impacts on (...) the educational experiences of African American children. (shrink)
For a variety of reasons, W.E.B. Du Bois is often heralded as a (pro)feminist figure, and his work is taken up accordingly. This essay is an attempt to more critically engage this assumption through The Black Flame trilogy. In this paper, I make the argument that this work of historical fiction – and the role of women therein – exposes the masculinist structure of Du Bois's vision for racial uplift, wherein black women lack sufficient public agency. From this structure, I (...) derive the conclusion that is disadvantageous to read Du Bois as embodying an exemplary anti-racist feminism. (shrink)
Education as Freedom is a groundbreaking edited text that documents and reexamines African-American empirical, methodological, and theoretical contributions to knowledge-making, teaching, and learning and American education from the nineteenth through the twenty-first century, a dynamic period of African-American educational thought and activism. Education as Freedom is a long awaited text that historicizes the current racial achievement gap as well as illuminates the myriad of African American voices and actions to define the purpose of education and to push the limits of (...) the democratic experiment in the United States. (shrink)
Part I Philosophic Traditions Introduction to Part I 3 1 Philosophy and the Afro-American Experience 7 CORNEL WEST 2 African-American Existential Philosophy 33 LEWIS R. GORDON 3 African-American Philosophy: A Caribbean Perspective 48 PAGET HENRY 4 Modernisms in Black 67 FRANK M. KIRKLAND 5 The Crisis of the Black Intellectual 87 HORTENSE J. SPILLERS Part II The Moral and Political Legacy of Slavery Introduction to Part II 107 6 Kant and Knowledge of Disappearing Expression 110 RONALD A. T. JUDY 7 (...) Social Contract Theory, Slavery, and the Antebellum Courts 125 ANITA L. ALLEN AND THADDEUS POPE 8 The Morality of Reparations II 134 BERNARD R. BOXILL Part III Africa and Diaspora Thought Introduction to Part III 151 9 “Afrocentricity‘: Critical Considerations 155 LUCIUS T. OUTLAW, JR. 10 African Retentions 168 TOMMY L. LOTT 11 African Philosophy at the Turn of the Century 190 ALBERT G. MOSLEY Part IV Gender, Race, and Racism Introduction to Part IV 199 12 Some Group Matters: Intersectionality, Situated Standpoints, and Black Feminist Thought 205 PATRICIA HILL COLLINS 13 Radicalizing Feminisms from “The Movement Era‘ 230 JOY A. JAMES 14 Philosophy and Racial Paradigms 239 NAOMI ZACK 15 Racial Classification and Public Policy 255 DAVID THEO GOLDBERG 16 White Supremacy 269 CHARLES W. MILLS Part V Legal and Social Philosophy Introduction to Part V 285 17 Self-Respect, Fairness, and Living Morally 293 LAURENCE M. THOMAS 18 The Legacy of Plessy v. Ferguson 306 MICHELE MOODY-ADAMS 19 Some Reflections on the Brown Decision and Its Aftermath 313 HOWARD McGARY 20 Contesting the Ambivalence and Hostility to Affirmative Action within the Black Community 324 LUKE C. HARRIS 21 Subsistence Welfare Benefits as Property Interests: Legal Theories and Moral Considerations 333 RUDOLPH V. VANTERPOOL 22 Racism and Health Care: A Medical Ethics Issue 349 ANNETTE DULA 23 Racialized Punishment and Prison Abolition 360 ANGELA Y. DAVIS Part VI Aesthetic and Cultural Values Introduction to Part VI 373 24 The Harlem Renaissance and Philosophy 381 LEONARD HARRIS 25 Critical Theory, Aesthetics, and Black Modernity 386 LORENZO C. SIMPSON 26 Black Cinema and Aesthetics 399 CLYDE R. TAYLOR 27 Thanatic Pornography, Interracial Rape, and the Ku Klux Klan 407 T. DENEAN SHARPLEY-WHITING 28 Lynching and Burning Rituals in African-American Literature 413 TRUDIER HARRIS-LOPEZ 29 Rap as Art and Philosophy 419 RICHARD SHUSTERMAN 30 Microphone Commandos: Rap Music and Political Ideology 429 BILL E. LAWSON 31 Sports, Political Philosophy, and the African American 436 GERALD EARLY. (shrink)
In this powerful volume, 15 leading American philosophers examine and critically reassess Douglass's significance for contemporary social and political thought. Philosophically, Douglass's work sought to establish better ways of thinking, especially in the light of his convictions about our humanity and democratic legitimacy - convictions that were culturally and historically shaped by his experience of, and struggle against, the institution of American slavery. Contributors include Bernard R. Boxill, Angela Y. Davis, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Tommy L. Lott, Howard McGary, (...) and John P. Pittman. (shrink)
When abolitionists Thomas Clarkson and Ottobah Cugoano published their essays on slavery in the late eighteenth century, they became key participants in one of the most important human rights campaigns in history. British abolitionism sought to expose the realities of transatlantic slavery in addition to asking politicians to help dehumanized Africans in the New World, and this edition brings together two major essays of the 1780s that were influential in the spread of the early abolitionist movement: Clarkson’s _An Essay on (...) the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species_ and Cugoano’s _Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species_. A critical introduction and extensive historical appendices on British and American slavery and abolitionism, featuring contemporary arguments for and against slavery, are also included. (shrink)
Focusing on the barriers between social work intervention in education and government funded programs that impact African American students, this book approaches these issues from a child-centered perspective. Interviews with ten African American students were conducted to discuss their perspectives on education, family life, and social work intervention.
The daughter of former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young draws universal lessons from her mother's extraordinary life, weaving personal stories of Jean Young against a backdrop rich in the turbulent politics of our recent past. 15 photos.
The Truth That Never Hurts brings together for the first time more than two decades of literary criticism and political thought about gender, race, sexuality, power, and social change. As one of the first writers in the United States to claim Black feminism for Black women in the early seventies, Barbara Smith has done groundbreaking work in defining a Black women's literary tradition; in examining the sexual politics of the lives of Black and other women of color; in representing the (...) lives of Black lesbians and gay men; and in making connections between race, class, sexuality, and gender. (shrink)
This study explores changes in the form and function of a select group of African American imaginative prose narratives published after 1970. The authors of this select group depart from the standard narrative form of their predecessors by avoiding a chronological and linear development around a central character or characters, by using common structural discourse techniques reflecting temporal and spatial connections between characters who represent different temporal and spatial locations, and by incorporating the reader's own personal response and cultural identity (...) into the structure of the narrative. African American writers in this select group also alter narrative function in their texts. They use their imaginative prose narratives as a way to reconnect African American identity not only with an African ontology and epistemology, but also with other cultural groups and identities encountered along the way in the context of an anthropological and archeological trope of hunting and gathering. The reconnection of these divergent identity paths creates works that help to expand the definition and understanding of African American imaginative prose narratives and that revisit the limits of black being. By revisiting the limits of black being, these writers open new imaginative and creative possibilities for exploring the epistemological and ontological specters of black life in the interstices of space and time. (shrink)
The significance of this study is that while a great deal has been researched and written by African Americans about the Black Church and the African American religious experience, very little has been researched or written about the perceptions of non-African Americans of the African American religious experience. As an action-oriented research project that used multiple methods to gathered data, disseminate questionnaires, pre and post survey methods, and phenomenological modalities, the methodology provided a focused look at a particular problem. The (...) inquiry captures the essence of the experience of the participants. This investigation further explores, and examines the immediate experience of the individual rather than the systematic and objective structure of traditional philosophical discussions. ;The result of this research is an in-depth understanding of the role that religious experience plays in race relations in societal life. In spite of the differences in denomination, religious or non religious affiliation, socio-economic backgrounds, participants shared the view that racism does exist within the religious community but that Christian faith is incompatible with racial exclusiveness, and we are obligated to make clear we are open to all people of all races and ethnic persuasions. Limitations of this study and implications for further research in the area were discussed. (shrink)
This dissertation focuses on the contemporary debate over moving from an individualist form of liberalism to one that seeks to accommodate the special claims of various groups in modern society. I deal with authors who examine ways that group dynamics affect the individual. They are worried about whether it is possible or wise to extend individualist liberalism into a group-accommodating liberalism. Presently, it is a matter of deep controversy how liberal democracies ought to interpret and accommodate the social reality and (...) normative claims of racial minorities. ;Race denotes privilege, it precipitates class antagonisms, hostility, and anger between various groups, it motivates misconceptions and misunderstandings. Racism is responsible for both immediate and intergenerational harm. And yet, the members of disadvantaged racial groups see their racial identity as something precious that should be preserved. For many the opportunity to identify with others in terms of a common racial heritage is an important source of pride. This disparity poses special problems for philosophical liberalism. What is the philosophical import of race and racism for various political theories within the contemporary Anglo American tradition of individualist liberalism? How ought the liberal tradition, an individualist thesis, to interpret and accommodate racial identity? ;This dissertation casts the philosophical debate concerning race in a new light. I argue that whether racial identities are compatible with liberal democratic ideals depends on how one defines race and the liberal ideals involved. Hence, I urge a critical stance on the issue of race. I am critical of both classical individualist liberalism, and the stand that groups do not pose any problems in a modern liberal democracy. (shrink)
This dissertation proposes a reconsideration of the some of work of W. E. B. Du Bois from the period 1897 to 1915. The study reconstructs Du Bois's understanding of the so-called Negro question and considers his challenges to existing interpretations of this social problem. Methodologically the study proceeds by way of a close examination of three principal early texts of Du Bois's, "The Conservation of Races," "Strivings of the Negro People," and "The Study of the Negro Problems," all written or (...) published in 1897. The principal orientation of the study is toward the elucidation of the conceptual infrastructure of Du Bois's thought and practice, political and intellectual. The argument at the core of the study is that Du Bois formulated an original understanding of the Negro as both an ontological being and a social subject, one that bears implications for the social sciences, the humanities, theology, philosophy and other related fields. On the basis of the re-thinking of Du Bois's work developed through this examination, the dissertation points toward a reconsideration of the status of Du Bois in the history of thought. (shrink)
This anthology provides the instructor with a sufficient quantity, breadth, and diversity of materials to be the sole text for a course on African-American philosophy. It includes both classic and more contemporary readings by both professional philosophers and other people with philosophically intriguing viewpoints. The material provided is diverse, yet also contains certain themes which instructors can effectively employ to achieve the element of unity. One such theme, the debate of the "nationalist" focus on blackness vs. the many critics of (...) this focus, runs through a great number of issues and readings. (shrink)
In these conversations Murray discusses those who influenced him - Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington - and tells how they helped him develop a philosophy of art based on the blues as well as a new archetype of the American hero, the blues hero.