Many of my first students at Anzaldúa’s alma mater read Borderlands/La Frontera and concluded that Anzaldúa was not a philosopher. Hostile comments suggested that Anzaldúa’s intimately personal and poetic ways of writing were not philosophical. In response, I created “American Philosophy and Self-Culture” using backwards course design and taught variations of it in 2013, 2016, and 2018. Students spend nearly a month exploring Anzaldúa’s works, but only after reading three centuries of U.S.-American philosophers who wrote in deeply personal and literary (...) ways about self-transformation, community-building, and world-changing. The sections of this chapter: 1) describe why my first students rejected Anzaldúa as a philosopher in terms of the discipline’s parochialism; 2) present Anzaldúa’s broader understanding of herself as a philosopher; 3) summarize my reconstructed Anzaldúa-inspired American Philosophy course and outline some assignments; 4) discuss how my students respond to Borderlands/La Frontera when we read it through the lens of self-culture; and 5) explain my attempt to shape the subdiscipline of American Philosophy by teaching Anzaldúa to specialists at the 2017 Summer Institute in American Philosophy. (shrink)
This essay fills in some historical, conceptual, and pedagogical gaps that appear in the most visible and recent professional efforts to “revive” Philosophy as a Way of Life (PWOL). I present “American Philosophy and Self-Culture” as an advanced undergraduate seminar that broadens who counts in and what counts as philosophy by immersing us in the lives, writings, and practices of seven representative U.S.-American philosophers of self-culture, community-building, and world-changing: Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), Henry David (...) Thoreau (1817–1862), Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), Henry Bugbee (1915–1999), and Gloria Anzaldúa (1942–2004). Students enter the class with preconceptions about who philosophers are, what they do, how they write, and the languages in which they write. Students walk out with new senses of self, place, and language that emerge through new ways of seeing, doing, and writing philosophy. (shrink)
This article describes why I used to teach Introduction to Latin American Philosophy monolingually in English, why I stopped, and how I am now teaching it using a flexible bilingual pedagogy, also sometimes called a translanguaging pedagogy, that has been transformative for my students and for me. By drawing upon the ventajas/assets y conocimientos/knowledge of our richly varied bilingualisms and biliteracies, the revised course contributes to the B3 (bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate) vision of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (...) (UTRGV). Students have the opportunity to honor, theorize, and cultivate their bicultural identities by “philosophizing in tongues” rather than being forced to assimilate to the monolingual and monocultural ideology that prevails across both mainstream Anglophone philosophy and the system of higher education in the United States of America. (shrink)
Professor Morales’ Coss Dialogue Lecture demonstrates the utility of pragmatism for his work as a social scientist across three projects: 1) field research studying the acephalous and heterogenous social order of Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market; 2) nascent research how unseen religious orders animate the lives of im/migrants and their contributions to food systems; and 3) large-scale longitudinal research on farmers markets using the Metrics + Indicators for Impact (MIFI) toolkit. The first two sections of my paper applaud and build upon (...) Morales’ first two projects, and my extremely brief third section raises some questions about positivist specters that may haunt the MIFI project insofar as it is conceptualized, described, and deployed using the terms favored by mainstream social science. (shrink)
Our paper examines Gloria Anzaldúa’s critical appropriation of Mexican philosophical sources, especially in the writing of Borderlands/La Frontera. We demonstrate how Anzaldúa developed a transnational Philosophy of Mexicanness, effectively contributing to what has been recently characterized as the “multi-generational project to pursue philosophy from and about Mexican circumstances” (Vargas). More specifically, we recover “La Mexicana en la Chicana” by paying careful attention to Anzaldúa’s Mexican sources, both those she explicitly cites and those we have discovered while conducting archival research using (...) the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers from the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. The three sections of our paper: 1) define the terms Mexican and philosophy in conversation with Anzaldúa’s work, 2) examine the Mexican philosophical sources that Anzaldúa cites in Borderlands/La Frontera, and 3) present the other major Mexican philosophical influences on Anzaldúa that we have found in her archive. The eight Mexican philosophical sources we discuss here include: José Vasconcelos (1882-1959), Miguel León-Portilla (1926-2019), Juana Armanda Alegría (1938- ), Octavio Paz (1914-1998), Samuel Ramos (1897-1959), Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974), Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz (1648-1695), and Jorge Carrión (1913-2005). (shrink)
This encyclopedia article outlines the history of Latin American philosophy: the thinking of its indigenous peoples, the debates over conquest and colonization, the arguments for national independence in the eighteenth century, the challenges of nation-building and modernization in the nineteenth century, the concerns over various forms of development in the twentieth century, and the diverse interests in Latin American philosophy during the opening decades of the twenty-first century. Rather than attempt to provide an exhaustive and impossibly long list of scholars’ (...) names and dates, this article outlines the history of Latin American philosophy while trying to provide a meaningful sense of detail by focusing briefly on individual thinkers whose work points to broader philosophical trends that are inevitably more complex and diverse than any encyclopedic treatment can hope to capture. (shrink)
A general consensus has emerged in the scholarship on Latin American thought dating from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the first quarter of the twentieth. Latin American intellectuals widely adapted the European philosophy of positivism in keeping with the demands of their own social and political contexts, effectively making positivism the second most important philosophical tradition in the history of Latin America, after scholasticism. However, as thinkers across Latin America faced the challenges of the twentieth century, they (...) grew increasingly disappointed with positivism, so that “anti-positivism” stands out as a defining feature of Latin American philosophy in the early twentieth century. In this essay, I challenge or at least add nuance to this widely accepted narrative by demonstrating considerable continuity rather than simple rupture between positivism and “anti-positivism” in Latin America. I focus on Mexico, where both positivism and the reaction against it are generally taken to have been strongest, or at least most politically significant. After tracing the history of positivism’s transformations in Mexico from Auguste Comte (1798-1857) to Gabino Barreda (1818-1881) to Justo Sierra (1848-1912), I show how Mexico’s leading “anti-positivist” philosophers—José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) and Antonio Caso (1883-1946)—draw substantially upon their positivist predecessors. (shrink)
This essay examines Gloria Anzaldúa’s critical appropriation of two Mexican philosophers in the writing of Borderlands/La Frontera: Samuel Ramos and Octavio Paz. We argue that although neither of these authors is cited in her seminal work, Anzaldúa had them both in mind through the writing process and that their ideas are present in the text itself. Through a genealogical reading of Borderlands/La Frontera, and aided by archival research, we demonstrate how Anzaldúa’s philosophical vision of the “new mestiza” is a critical (...) continuation of the broader tradition known as la filosofía de lo mexicano, which flourished during a golden age of Mexican philosophy (1910–1960). Our aim is to open new directions in Latinx and Latin American philosophy by presenting Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera as a profound scholarly encounter with two classic works of Mexican philosophy, Ramos’ Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico and Paz’s The Labyrinth of Solitude. (shrink)
This article describes my ongoing attempts to more successfully engage the full linguistic repertoires and cultural identities of undergraduate students at a “Hispanic Serving Institution” (HSI) in South Texas by teaching a bilingual Introduction to Latin American Philosophy course in the “Language, Philosophy, and Culture” area of Texas’ General Education Core Curriculum. By uncovering the diverse identities, worldviews, and languages of those who were historically excluded from the Eurocentric discipline of philosophy through the conquest and colonization of the Americas, Latin (...) American philosophers offer us new ways of thinking and living by challenging Anglocentric language, philosophy, and culture. As part of the new B3 (Bilingual, Bicultural, and Biliterate) vision of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the course is designed to draw upon the richly varied bilingualisms and biliteracies of predominantly Latinx students in order to help them honor, theorize, and cultivate their bicultural identities by “philosophizing in tongues” rather than being forced to assimilate to the monolingual and monocultural ideology that prevails across both mainstream Anglophone philosophy and the system of higher education in the United States of America. (shrink)
In response to those calling for philosophical dialogue across the Americas, this paper considers the historical emergence of the concept of el pueblo (“the people”) as the subject and object of democracy. The first section makes a linguistic claim: the genuinely communal nature of “the people” clearly appears when considering el pueblo because it is unambiguously singular, grammatically speaking. The second section makes a historical claim: the microhistory of a largely indigenous pueblo in Mexico’s Yucatán enables us to begin unpacking (...) the complex concrete, historical, and genealogical dimensions of el pueblo. The brief concluding section suggests that historically contextualizing and concretizing el pueblo provides conceptual support for some of the premises that underwrite Latin American philosophies of liberation, including that of Enrique Dussel. -/- . (shrink)
This article examines Gloria Anzaldúa’s critical appropriation of Mexican philosophical sources, especially in the writing of Borderlands/La Frontera. We argue that Anzaldúa effectively contributed to la filosofía de lo mexicano by developing an Inter-American Philosophy of Mexicanness. More specifically, we recover “La Mexicana en la Chicana” by paying careful attention to Anzaldúa’s Mexican sources, both those she explicitly cites and those we have discovered while conducting archival research using the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers at the Benson Latin American Collection at (...) the University of Texas at Austin. The eight Mexican philosophical sources we examine and discuss here are: José Vasconcelos (1882-1959), Miguel León-Portilla (1926-2019), Juana Armanda Alegría (1938- ), Octavio Paz (1914-1998), Samuel Ramos (1897-1959), Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974), Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz (1648-1695), and Jorge Carrión (1913-2005). (shrink)
This translation of Enrique Dussel's “‘Ser-Hispano’: Un Mundo en el ‘Border’ de Muchos Mundos” offers an interpretation of hispanos (Latin Americans and U.S. latinos) as historically, culturally, and geographically located “in-between” many worlds that combine to constitute an identity on the intercultural “border.” To illustrate how hispanos have navigated and continue to navigate their complex history in order to create a polyphonic identity, the essay sketches five historical-cultural “worlds” that come together to form the hispanic “world.”.
Antonio Caso, “La existencia como economía y como caridad” (1916). Translated with Jose G. Rodriguez Jr. as “Existence as Economy and as Charity,” in 20th Century Mexican Philosophy: Essential Readings, eds. Carlos Alberto Sánchez and Robert Eli Sanchez, Jr. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
In the second half of the nineteenth century, many Latin American intellectuals adapted the philosophy of positivism to address the pressing problems of nation-building and respond to the demands of their own social and political contexts, making positivism the second most influential tradition in the history of Latin American philosophy, after scholasticism. Since a comprehensive survey of positivism’s role across Latin American and Latinx philosophy would require multiple books, this chapter presents the history of positivism and its transformations in Mexican (...) and Chicanx philosophies, proceeding chronologically and focusing on these representative thinkers: Auguste Comte (1798-1857), Gabino Barreda (1818-1881), Justo Sierra (1848-1912), José Vasconcelos (1882-1959), Antonio Caso (1883-1946), and Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004). We pay special attention to how positivism was used to build the Mexican nation and reconstruct Mexican identity through education, creating philosophical debates about the relationships among science, religion, morality, education, race, economic progress, and national development. These debates continue to resonate as we think critically about the respective roles of scientific education—then called “positive” education, now “STEM” education—and moral education in the curricula used to educate a country’s youth while reconstructing their ethnoracial and national identities. (shrink)
This essay narrates what I have learned from Søren Kierkegaard & John Dewey about teaching philosophy. It consists of three sections: 1) a Deweyan pragmatist’s translation of Kierkegaard’s religious insights on Christianity, as a way of life, into ethical insights on philosophy, as a way of life; 2) a brief description of the introductory course that I teach most frequently: Ethics, Happiness, & The Good Life; and 3) an exploration of three spiritual exercises from the course: a) self-cultivation by means (...) of writing in an Ethics Notebook, b) an “existential experiment” in which we practice one of Aristotle’s virtues for a week, and c) a 15-hour service-learning component. (shrink)
This essay suggests that the U.S.-American Pragmatist tradition could be fruitfully reconstructed by way of a dialogue with Latin American Liberation Philosophy. More specifically, I work to establish a common ground for future comparative work by: 1) gathering and interpreting Enrique Dussel’s scattered comments on Pragmatism, 2) showing how the concept of liberation already functions in John Dewey’s Pragmatism, and 3) suggesting reasons for further developing this inter-American philosophical dialogue and debate.
My essay begins by providing a broad vision of how William James’s psychology and philosophy were a two-pronged attempt to revive the self whose foundations had collapsed after the Civil War. Next, I explain how this revival was all too successful insofar as James inadvertently resurrected the imperial self, so that he was forced to adjust and develop his philosophy of religion in keeping with his anti-imperialism. James’s mature philosophy of religion therefore articulates a vision of the radically ethical saint (...) religiously bound to a decidedly pluralistic universe. I evaluate James’s philosophy of religion by comparing it to Enrique Dussel’s psychological portrait of the imperialist ego, Dussel’s attempt to religiously bind this ego, and the more radical philosophy that results. I suggest that Dussel’s philosophy of liberation: 1) better theorizes the religious contraction of the self as a necessary part of ethical and political life and 2) offers a more concrete and radically democratic philosophy. My overarching aim is to show how Dussel’s liberation philosophy can help critically develop James’s pragmatist claim that religion might provide a force for widely and positively transforming our ethical and political lives. (shrink)
BOOK REVIEW: Through fifteen interrelated essays, Daniel Campos’ Loving Immigrants in America reflects upon his experiences as a Latin American immigrant to the United States and develops an experiential philosophy of personal interaction. Building upon previous work, Campos’ implicit conceptual framework comes from Charles S. Peirce’s dual philosophical accounts of the evolution of personality and evolutionary love. But the flesh and blood of the book are Campos’ own personal experiences as an immigrant who has labored for more than twenty years (...) to make himself at home in the United States, aka la Yunai, by growing to love an impressively broad range of places and people across the country. Campos begins in rural Arkansas (where he arrived as an eighteen-year-old from Costa Rica to study at a small religious liberal arts college), travels extensively across the Deep South (in a series of road trips described in Chapters 3-6), completes an MA in Statistics and later a PhD in Philosophy at Penn State, and eventually settles to teach at Brooklyn College where he is surrounded by immigrants from all over the world. The book’s cast of characters and Campos’ interactions with them are so extensive as to defy generalization, but careful readers are likely to walk away convinced of Campos’ claim that “anyone who is receptive and attentive to the commonality of human experience can empathize with immigrants” (2). (shrink)