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**This conference has been postponed, please check back here on our website (or sign up for our mailing list here for updates) about rescheduling and more information regarding this conference.

“Africana Philosophy” is the term that has been coined to designate philosophy in Africa and the African Diaspora (the Caribbean; the two Americas, North and South; Europe; Asia), both in the pre-modern and modern periods. In modernity, this philosophy will be fundamentally shaped by the experience of transnational racial subordination: racial chattel slavery in the Atlantic world, colonialism, and then continuing diasporic racial oppression in nominally post-slavery and post-colonial societies. Thus, it is arguably in modernity that a subset of Africana Philosophy becomes “Black” Philosophy. As such, black philosophers have played a crucial role in pioneering what is now known as Critical Philosophy of Race: the philosophical examination of race from a “critical,” anti-racist perspective.

This 2-day conference pays tribute both to the historic pathbreakers of the past and the still living pioneers of the present who—under the most difficult and unfavorable conditions—were eventually able, after decades of struggle both within and outside the academy, to get Africana Philosophy and Critical Philosophy of Race recognized as legitimate areas of philosophical exploration and inquiry.

Free and open to the public.


Friday, March 20th


Panel 1: What is Africana Philosophy?

Howard McGary: “African American Philosophy: A Retrospective”

Leonard Harris (Philosophy: Purdue University):
“What, Then, Is Philosophy Born of Struggle?"

John H. McClendon III: “The Recovery and Reconstruction of Pioneering Conceptions in Africana Philosophy: From the Standpoint of Dialectical Materialism”


Panel 2: Black Lives and the Black Aesthetic

Kathryn Belle (Philosophy & African American Studies: Pennsylvania State University):
"La Belle Vie: A 'Holistic Approach to the Philosophical Art of Living' a Beautiful Life"

Albert Mosley (Philosophy: Smith College):
“Funky Music in the Philosophy of the Black Aesthetic: It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got that Swing”

Dwight Murph (Philosophy: John Jay College, CUNY):
“Black Consciousness and the Emergence of Black/Africana Philosophy”

Panel 3: Inferiority, Racism, and Justice

Bill E. Lawson: (Philosophy, Emeritus Professor at the University of Memphis)
“Something about Inferiority”

John Pittman (Philosophy: John Jay College, CUNY):
“Hannah Arendt on Racism and Anti-Semitism”

Derrick Darby: (Philosophy: Rutgers University)
“Herrenvolk Democracy and the Black Demos”

Saturday, March 20th

Panel 4: Inequality and Abolitionism

Frank Kirkland (Philosophy: Hunter College & The Graduate Center, CUNY):
“Inequality: Kantian Thoughts, Du Bois’s Proposals, and Hegel’s Reflections on Contractually Liberal and Contractually Racial Dispositions”

Joy James (Humanities: Williams College):
“Into the Breach: Captive Maternals Sally, Michelle, and Deborah”

Alfred Prettyman (History: Ramapo College of New Jersey):
"How Do We See Each Other?”


Panel 5: African and Afro-Caribbean Philosophy: Overviews

Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French & Philosophy; African Studies: Columbia University):
“African Philosophy: Topics and Figures”

Mickaella Perina (Philosophy: University of Massachusetts, Boston):
“Afro-Caribbean Philosophy: Poetics, Historicism and the World of Relations in Between”


Lucius Outlaw (Philosophy: Vanderbilt University):
“Black Lives and Existence: Misadventures in Academic Philosophy”

Click here for the full Abstracts for each speaker's presentation.

Organized by: Charles W. Mills and Linda Martín Alcoff.

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, the Philosophy Program, the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC), and the Africana Studies’ Certificate Program at The Graduate Center, CUNY, together with the APA Committee on the Status of Black Philosophers.