SELECT LIST OF COURSES TAUGHT
African American/Africana Philosophy
This course examines dominant themes in African American and Africana philosophical discourse from pre-Emancipation to Decolonization including Race and “Place” (Nationalism and Assimilation), Gender and Sexuality (emphasizing early Black Feminist Thought), Economics, and Racial Uplift. We also explore Literary Modes of Resistance (the Harlem Renaissance and the Negritude Movement). The class culminates with an emphasis on Resistance Movements (Civil Rights, Black Power, Decolonization).
Colonialism, ‘Orientalism’, and Culture
This course is designed to provide students with a preliminary foundational background on the philosophy/psychology of colonialism, “orientalism,” and culture through key texts by Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi, and Edward Said. Some of the themes that are highlighted include: racial formation through colonization, alienation and disalienation of the colonizer and the colonized, the scope of “orientalism,” and resistance.
Critical Philosophy of Race
This course brings together established and scholars to explore new dimensions in the critical philosophy of race. We will cover material that represents various philosophical traditions (including Continental, Analytic, American/Pragmatism, Feminism, Philosophy of Race) as well as interdisciplinary approaches to theorizing race and racism. Of particular interest are intersections between race, culture, ethnicity, and nationality (as well as with gender and sexuality) that reach beyond the black/white binary as a focal point. (This course was initially offered in conjunction with a conference I organized on "Critical Philosophy of Race Beyond the Black/white Binary." )
In this course we explore selected European philosophical writings on race, racism, and colonialism by Jean-Paul Sartre and his interlocutors (such as Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, and Richard Wright). Operating in the background of this course is the ontological construction of Europe and European Philosophy. We ponder questions like: Who and/or what is Europe and European Philosophy? And, why might we be inclined (or disinclined) to read Richard Wright, Aimé Césaire, and Frantz Fanon as European philosophers (rather than, or in addition to reading them exclusively as “Black” or “Africana” philosophers)? Key themes include: the Gaze, Europeaness, Whiteness, Blackness, Race/Racism, Colonialism, Colonized/Colonizer, Freedom/Oppression, Creation of “the Jew” and “the Negro,” Gender Construction, and Dimensions of the African Diaspora.
Introduction to African American and Diaspora Studies
This introductory course examines the foundations of African American culture from ancient African history and through contemporary issues in the African American experience and the larger diaspora. We focus on the following themes: 1) Defining Diaspora, Culture and Civilization in Africa, and the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade; 2) The African Diaspora and the “New World”: Economics and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade; 3) Cultural Continuity and Cultural Constructions; and 4) Resistance, Rebellion, and Revolt.
Introduction to Philosophy
In this course we examine major themes in ancient, modern, and contemporary philosophy. Rather than limiting our focus to western or Greek philosophy, we will also explore Egyptian and Chinese philosophy. Students are also be introduced to other philosophical voices and readings including feminist philosophy, Africana philosophy, Latin American philosophy, Asian American philosophy, and Indian philosophy. Some of the themes we explore include questions about cosmologies/cosmogonies (theories about creation), human nature (good versus evil), epistemology (theories of knowledge), identity, and living the best life.
"Major Figures" Graduate Seminars
- Hannah Arendt (emphasis on her major political writings)
- Simone de Beauvoir (emphasis on Ethics of Ambiguity; The Second Sex; and the edited collection Philosophical Writings)
Philosophy and Feminism
We explore diverse feminist philosophies of culture and knowledge, and examine gender's role in accounts of reality, truth, morality, and justice. Reading essays from a broad range of scholars (diverse in discipline, age, class, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, and perspectives) we examine some of the convergences that have emerged between philosophy and feminism.
Race and Sexuality (previously co-taught with Jose Medina, Ph.D.)
This seminar focuses on the intersection between two identity categories: race and sexuality. We also explore other aspects of the so-called intersectionality of identity, studying the complex relations among identity categories such as class, gender, color, ethnicity, and nationality. The seminar covers the following central topics: the sexualization of race and the racialization of sexuality; queering the Color Line and the Gender Line; and socio-cultural perspectives on race and sexuality. We read some of the most influential authors in Gender Theory, Queer Theory, Race Theory, Sexuality Studies, and Cultural Studies: Frantz Fanon, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Bourdieu, among others.
Race and Sex in Contemporary Hip Hop
This reading and writing intensive seminar examines historically constructed images of Black masculinity, femininity, and sexuality in relationship to contemporary images in hip hop culture. In our analysis of hip hop, students are also introduced to phenomenology and existentialist philosophical concepts such as objectification, the gaze, performativity, and authenticity. In addition to readings in hip hop studies, philosophical authors engaged include Sartre, Butler, hooks, Hill-Collins, and others.
Race, Womanhood, and Black Theology
This reading and writing intensive seminar focuses on the intersecting paradigms of race, gender, and religion in Black scholarship (especially by Alexander Crummell and Anna Julia Cooper) from about 1850-1950. The course introduces students to problems that emerge from race/gender essentialism, the exclusion of gender from race debates, the exclusion of race from the women’s movement, and the relevance of Black Christian Theology to constructions of race and gender. We will also analyze writings by Du Bois, Lorde, Davis, hooks, and Cone, among others.
Radically Rethinking Democracy, Oppression, and Liberation
This seminar focuses on the problem of inequality (namely race, gender, and class inequality) within social and political philosophical traditions including social contract theory, democratic theory, and Marxism. The objective of the course is to analyze the limits of these theories as they relate to race, class, and gender “difference.” To do this, we examine writings within the African American philosophical tradition including Allen, Boxill, Gordon, Lawson, McGary, Mills, Outlaw, and West.