Fall 2012

Introduction to African-American Philosophy

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-245  |  Philosophy, as PHIL-245


John E. Drabinski (Section 01)


(Offered as BLST 245 and PHIL 245.)  What is distinctive about African-American experience?  How does that distinctiveness bear on the theory and practice of philosophy and philosophical thinking?  And how does the African-American philosophical tradition alter conventional philosophical accounts of subjectivity, knowledge, time, language, history, embodiment, memory, and justice?  In this course, we will read a range of African-American thinkers from the twentieth century in order to develop an appreciation of the unique, critical philosophical voice in the black intellectual tradition.  Our readings of works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Alain Locke, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Anthony Appiah and Cornel West will open up crucial issues that transform philosophy's most central problems:  knowing, being, and acting.  As well, we will consider the cluster of thinkers with whom those works are critically concerned, including key texts from nineteenth century German philosophy, American pragmatism, and contemporary existentialism and postmodernism.  What emerges from these texts and critical encounters is a sense of philosophy and philosophical practice as embedded in the historical experience--in all of its complexity--of African-Americans in the twentieth century.

Fall semester.  Visiting Professor Drabinski.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012