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Latin American Studies The Caribbean Philosophical Association
by
Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Lewis Gordon

Introduction

The Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) is an organization of scholars and lay-intellectuals dedicated to the study and generation of ideas with emphasis on encouraging South–South dialogue. The CPA was founded on 14 June 2002 at the Center for Caribbean Thought at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, after a major conference dedicated to the work of Jamaican novelist, literary critic, and theorist Sylvia Wynter. This event was one of a series of exchanges and collaborations among a group of Caribbean scholars teaching at the University of the West Indies and intellectuals of the Caribbean diaspora teaching in universities in the United States. The CPA has an executive board and secretaries who cover different areas of scholarship, regions of the Caribbean, and exchanges with other regions. Although the focus is on engaging philosophy and critical thought that emerges in the Caribbean, membership is not limited exclusively to scholars with degrees in philosophy, and any region and historic moment can be subject of the exchange of ideas. In similar kind, anyone with an interest in engaging ideas and playing a role in the development of new ideas can become a member. The principal goal of the CPA is to “shift the geography of reason,” by which it means approaching the Caribbean and the “global south” in general as zones of sustainable practices, sources, and producers of knowledge. This includes South–South exchanges, including the South in the North, analyses and critiques of multiple expressions of the legacy of slavery and global coloniality, and critical and creative engagements with mainstream and marginalized theories and forms of knowledge. Finally, though not exhaustively, the CPA is also dedicated to assisting with the development of institutions that will preserve thought in the Caribbean and cultivate new ideas. The following is a selection of texts that either established the case of a need for an organization such as the CPA, emerged in or benefitted from discussions among members of the CPA and in CPA meetings, or exemplified important sources for themes that are central to the CPA.

General Overviews

The CPA has particular strengths on Anglophone, Francophone, and Hispanophone Caribbean philosophy, more or less in that order, as this bibliography itself attests. Major areas of emphasis are Afro-Caribbean and Africana philosophy; see Henry 2000 and Gordon 2008. The authors are both founding members of the association, and Gordon was voted as its first president. While Henry 2000 offers a typology to understand the work of various important and influential Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean thinkers, Gordon 2008 provides an overview of philosophers from Africa and its diasporas in the Caribbean and the United States. Sharpley-Whiting 2002 focuses on the contributions of women intellectuals in the “négritude” movement and contains primary sources in translation. Torres-Saillant 2006 departs from the focus on the African diaspora per se and focuses on constructions of and responses to demeaning views of the Caribbean. It also tackles questions about the practice of theory and leadership in colonial contexts. Lewis 1983 is a classic in the field and traces the main political ideologies in the region from 1492 to 1900. Rojas Osorio 1997 focuses on the positivism and utilitarianism that was predominant in the 19th and parts of the 20th century in the Hispanic Caribbean. He focuses on territories that include parts of Central America and specific authors from those regions. One of the challenges of the CPA is to establish more connections with the Dutch- and Papiamento-speaking Caribbean. It currently has linkages with the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery (NiNsee) and its legacy in the Netherlands and is in the process of working on translations that will facilitate the introduction of ideas from the Dutch- and Papiamento-speaking Caribbean to discussions and debates in the association.

  • Gordon, Lewis. An Introduction to Africana Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Introduces Africana philosophy by interrogating the meaning of philosophy and its exploration in the African diasporic context. Along with extensive analysis of figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Franz Fanon, and Anna Julia Cooper, it provides subtle overviews of Afro-Caribbean philosophy, African philosophy, African American philosophy, and influential Africana philosophical schools of thought in the United States and Britain.

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  • Henry, Paget. Caliban’s Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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    Through an act of historical recovery and theoretical sophistication, this book identifies and brings to light the often hidden tradition of Afro-Caribbean philosophy. This introduction through careful consideration of Afro-Caribbean intellectual responses to colonialism locates Afro-Caribbean philosophy in literary criticism, psychoanalysis, history, poetry, and other endeavors that challenged the presuppositions of colonialism and its theoretical and material apparatuses.

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  • Lewis, Gordon K. Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: The Historical Evolution of Caribbean Society in Its Ideological Aspects, 14921900. Johns Hopkins Studies in Atlantic History and Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.

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    Substantial overview of dominant political ideologies in the Caribbean. Focuses on ideas of discovery and conquest as well as on critical responses to them, proslavery and antislavery ideologies, and the growth of nationalism in the region.

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  • Rojas Osorio, Carlos. Filosofía moderna en el Caribe hispano. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1997.

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    Overview of positivism and utilitarianism in the continental and insular Caribbean in the 19th and part of the 20th centuries. Useful introduction to myriad of thinkers, their major works, and contributions in ethics, aesthetics, politics, and epistemology, among other areas.

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  • Sharpley-Whiting, T. Denean. Negritude Women. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

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    Discusses the contributions of women to the negritude movement. Intervening in the movement’s predominantly masculine genealogy, it includes in-depth discussions of works by Lascacade, the Nardal sisters, and Roussy-Césaire. A welcomed deepening of the intellectual history of the negritude movement, this book is valuable for scholars who study gender, social movements, literature, and intellectual traditions in the African diaspora.

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  • Torres-Saillant, Silvio. An Intellectual History of the Caribbean. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781403983367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This text examines writings by both Caribbean scholars and non-Caribbean writers that have influenced its culture and cultural production. A prominent theme is the challenge created by the perceived epistemic status of the Caribbean, which implies the lack of legitimacy to produce knowledge about itself and others. Investigates the art, literature, and thought produced in Caribbean regions at the same time that it problematizes Western conceptual frameworks.

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Edited Volumes and Special Issues

These selected edited works capture debates that directly anteceded the emergence of the CPA, that were influential in its formation and development, or that were the direct or indirect outcome of the conversations and meetings made possible or organized by the association. Gordon 1997 makes the case for serious attention to black existential philosophy, which includes a good number of Afro-Caribbean intellectuals. The concern with “existence” is linked to the basic affirmation of survival in contexts defined by the negation of life through colonialism, slavery, and other forms of dehumanization. Meeks and Lindahl 2001 captures a number of debates that immediately preceded the foundation of the CPA. These involved contributions from intellectuals from the Anglophone Caribbean and the diaspora, particularly in the United States. The CPA’s committee on gender studies sought to promote scholarly interventions such as those in Mohammed 2002, itself a result of a project at the Mona Unit of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies in Jamaica. One of the contributors, Dr. Richard Clarke, has served as a secretary in the association. Banchetti-Robino and Headley 2006 contains twenty-two articles based on presentations offered at the first annual meeting of the CPA, which took place in Barbados in May 2004. Maldonado-Torres 2005 emerged from and offers some insight into the conversations that took place at the second annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At that time Maldonado-Torres was secretary for the Hispanophone Caribbean, before he became the second president of the CPA. Problems of race and racism, gender, colonialism, the legacies of slavery, and questions about the very importance of theory in Caribbean studies are rigorously explored by a wide group of authors in these anthologies. The contributions to Maldonado-Torres 2006 make the case to consider Caribbean philosophy as a “postcontinental” form of philosophy, theory, and critique.

  • Banchetti-Robino, Marina Paola, and Clevis R. Headley, eds. Shifting the Geography of Reason: Gender, Science, and Religion. London: Cambridge Scholars, 2006.

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    Addresses multiple themes, from Indo-Caribbean philosophy, to the sources of Caribbean philosophy, to gender, African philosophy, Fanon’s studies, and phenomenology, among other areas. CPA secretaries and award winners such as Bernard Boxill, Paget Henry, Marilyn Nissim-Sabat, Kristin Waters, and Charles Mills contributed in this volume. The foreword is by Lewis Gordon.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R., ed. Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 1997.

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    This anthology begins with an introduction from Gordon on “Black Existential Philosophy” and continues with a chapter on “African and Afro-Caribbean Existential Philosophies” by Paget Henry. It includes chapters on black feminism (Joy Ann James), Rastafarianism (Paget Henry), and the role of violence in the struggle for liberation (Howard McGary), among a variety of other themes in a total of twenty-one contributions.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson, ed. Special Issue: New Caribbean Philosophy. Caribbean Studies 33.2 (2005).

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    Addresses the origin of modern political philosophy, a “new dialogic” in philosophy, Puerto Rican and Indo-Caribbean philosophy, and Fanon’s and James’s views on reason. Includes a review forum on the two books that received the Frantz Fanon Book Award in 2005: Sybille Fischer’s Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004) and Alejandro de Oto’s Frantz Fanon: Política y poética del sujeto postcolonial (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2003).

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson, ed. Post-Continental Philosophy. Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise 1.3 (Fall, 2006).

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    Addresses the imperative of “shifting the geography of reason.” Introduced by Maldonado-Torres, the dossier also includes essays from CPA members Lewis Gordon, Alejandro de Oto, Gertrude James Gonzalez de Allen, Paget Henry, Jane Gordon, Kenneth Knies, and the late Esiaba Irobi, who concludes with a reflection on “the philosophy of the sea.”

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  • Meeks, Brian, and Folke Lindahl, eds. New Caribbean Thought: A Reader. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2001.

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    This substantive volume of twenty chapters aims to capture what it itself portrays as an “early revival” in Caribbean thought that began to take place in the 1990s. Anticipates the theoretical work that is later done in the CPA and the Center for Caribbean Thought at the University of the West Indies-Mona, among other spaces. Brian Meeks, one of the coeditors, has served as a secretary of the CPA.

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  • Mohammed, Patricia, ed. Gendered Realities: Essays in Caribbean Feminist Thought. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2002.

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    A gem with twenty-nine contributions and an introduction on “The Material of Gender.” The text focuses on feminist theory and methodology, gender and historiography, gender in the academy, gender and the literary imagination, gender and the media, and constructing gender, among other topics. The contributions are interdisciplinary and have a clear awareness of the importance of theory and method.

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Classical Figures

The Caribbean as a geopolitical entity is a “New World” formation, forged in the context of presumed discovery, colonization, and slavery. In that sense, authors such as Bartolomé de las Casas and William Shakespeare count among the classical figures relevant for Caribbean thought. Also relevant are the indigenous views that existed before colonization and that survived the decimation of indigenous communities in large parts of the region, as well as the ideas, myths, and rhythms that African slaves brought with them. The current selection, however, highlights the contributions of a number of 19th- and predominantly 20th-century figures from the Anglophone, Francophone, Creolephone, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean or the diaspora whose work has arguably marked most significantly the discussions that take place in the CPA.

Aimé and Suzanne Césaire

Aimé and Suzanne Césaire’s work was central to the Négritude movement and provided pillars for postcolonial and decolonial thinking in the Caribbean and the African diaspora in general. Césaire 1995 is one of the most powerful poetic works that celebrates the Caribbean and is part of a massive shift in the 20th century from the enchantment with European civilization and epistemology to an appreciation of other regions and blackness. Césaire 2010 is a translation of Aimé Césaire’s resignation letter from the French Communist Party. It outlines important and influential critiques from the standpoint of the Communist Party in regard to the problems of colonialism and race. Césaire 2001 and Césaire 2006 offer an incisive critique of European civilization and make fundamental linkages among racial colonialism, fascism, and genocidal practices. The Haitian Revolution—and not only critiques of European civilization—attracted the attention of many scholars from the Caribbean in the 20th century who looked for viable models of civilization and coexistence. Césaire 1981 is one of the earliest and most important works. Césaire 2009 includes powerful essays written by Suzanne Césaire about poetry and African roots in the Caribbean; the articles first appeared in the journal Tropiques, cofounded by Aimé and Suzanne Césaire and René Menil. Wilks 2008 further elucidates the importance of Suzanne Césaire’s work, and Maldonado-Torres 2006 offers a view of Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism as a fundamental work in advancing a “decolonial turn” in theory, philosophy, and critique.

  • Césaire, Aimé. Toussaint Louverture: La révolution française et le problème colonial. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1981.

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    A classical text that shows Césaire’s serious interests and talents for history, theory, and critique. Césaire proposes that, thanks to the work of Toussaint Louverture, the Revolution became not a contingent or marginal historical fact or political event but a fundamental moment in the consciousness about the meaning of human freedom and equality in the Modern West.

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  • Césaire, Aimé. Notebook of a Return to my Native Land=Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. Translated by Mireille Rosello with Annie Pritchard. Bloodaxe Contemporary French Poets 4. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Bloodaxe, 1995.

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    This is a bilingual edition of Césaire’s famous poem, originally published in 1939. The poem expresses his view of the Caribbean, and it is informed by his studies and conversations with young Caribbean and African poets and intellectuals in Paris. One finds in it some of the fundamental points of his conception of négritude, an influential philosophical position for which he has become most famous.

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  • Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. Translated by Joan Pinkham. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001.

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    This essay, originally published after the end of World War II in 1950, can be considered a central decolonial manifesto that ingeniously makes connections between modern racial colonialism and Nazism. This edition contains an introduction by the prominent African American historian Robin D. G. Kelley.

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  • Césaire, Aimé. Discurso sobre el colonialismo. Cuestiones de antagonismo 39. Madrid: Editorial Akal, 2006.

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    This Spanish version of this text deserves mention, both because of the quality of the translation and because of the additional material that it contains. It begins with an introduction by Immanuel Wallerstein and includes interpretive essays by Samir Amin, Ramón Grosfoguel, Maldonado-Torres, and Walter D. Mignolo, as well as Spanish translations of the “Letter to Maurice Thorez,” the essay “Culture and Colonization,” and “Discourse on Négritude.”

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  • Césaire, Aimé. “Letter to Maurice Thorez.” Translated by Chike Jeffers. Social Text 28.2 (2010): 145–152.

    DOI: 10.1215/01642472-2009-072Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    With this letter, Aimé Césaire formally announces a break with the French Communist Party in 1956. It is a major statement in which Césaire objects to the French Communist predominant conception of universality and proposes a dynamic relation between the universal and the particular. This is the most recent translation of the letter in English to date, by Dr. Chike Jeffers, an active CPA member and former secretary. Originally published in French as Lettre à Maurice Thorez (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1956). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Césaire, Suzanne. Le grand camouflage: Écrits de dissidence (1941–1945). Edited by Daniel Maximin. Paris: Seuil, 2009.

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    Collection of seven articles originally published in the journal Tropiques. The essays cover the themes of the African roots of the Caribbean and surrealism in poetry, among other topics. The book also features essays by Aimé Césaire, André Masson, and René Menil and a dialogue between Masson and André Breton.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “Césaire’s Gift and the Decolonial Turn.” Radical Philosophy Review 9.2 (2006): 111–137.

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    Elaborates on Césaire’s contribution to a “decolonial turn” in philosophy, theory, and critique. Argues that, different from Césaire’s poetry, which is infused with elements of surrealism, his Discourse on Colonialism (2001) can be read as a critical and creative intervention in the French rationalist tradition inaugurated by René Descartes but focusing on decolonization and not modernity as an unfinished project.

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  • Wilks, Jennifer M. Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism: Suzanne Lascacade, Marita Bonner, Suzanne Césaire, Dorothy West. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.

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    Comparative study of the ways in which four women writers challenged and enriched the discourses of the Harlem Renaissance and négritude by going beyond the ideas of the New Negro and the “radical” masculinism of négritude’s male poets. The chapter on Suzanne Césaire highlights her use of surrealism and her writings in the journal Tropiques, which she cofounded. Offers linkages with Eduard Glissant and the proponents of Creolité.

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Anna Julia Cooper

Born into slavery in the 19th century, Cooper’s quest for education and her leadership role in the education of African Americans and Native Americans led her to produce important works on black feminist thought, pedagogy, Christian critical thought, and the history of abolition in the New World well into the 20th century. Cooper was principal of the famous M School in Washington, DC, which taught African Americans and Native Americans and occasioned controversy by offering a humanistic education for those students at a time when the prevailing model for them was vocational education. Cooper 1998 is a collection of her writings and letters, whereas Cooper 2006 is her doctoral dissertation. Jane Gordon, the political theory secretary of the CPA, also works in the area of political theory of education, and Gordon 2007 raises the relevance of Cooper’s thought for contemporary challenges faced by black teachers. Guy-Sheftall 2009 examines the emergence of Cooper studies, and Vivian May 2007 presents the first book-length systematic study of Cooper’s thought. Kristin Waters, secretary on the status of women in the CPA, coedited the award-winning reader, Waters and Conaway 2007, which presents and engages the writings of black feminist political thinkers, including Cooper.

  • Cooper, Anna Julia. The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper, Including “A Voice From the South” and Other Important Essays, Papers and Letters. Edited by Charles Lemert and Esme Bhan. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.

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    This excellent collection includes the full text of A Voice From the South, where Cooper advances her black feminist Christian critique of America (and the Americas) through raising questions of value in terms of output versus investment—for example, her famous essay, “What Are We Worth?” Other essays include her work on language and pedagogy.

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  • Cooper, Anna Julia. Slavery and the French and Haitian Revolutionists: L’attitude de la France a l’egard de l’esclavage pendant la revolution. Edited and translated by Frances Richardson Keller. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

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    English translation of Cooper’s 1925 doctoral dissertation (University of Paris). The work shows how the question of making the French Revolution of 1789 more rigorous led to a debate on the question of slavery, which was in turn made manifest in the Haitian Revolution.

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  • Gordon, Jane Anna. “Failures of Language and Laughter: Anna Julia Cooper and Contemporary Problems of Humanistic Pedagogy.” Philosophical Studies in Education 38 (2007): 163–178.

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    This article examines Cooper’s discussion of the meaning and significance of moments within educational settings when the conditions for laughter and language break down.

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  • Guy-Sheftall, Beverly. “Black Feminist Studies: The Case of Anna Julia Cooper.” African American Review 43.1 (2009): 11–15.

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    This article offers a genealogy of the emergence of Anna Julia Cooper studies and its significance for black feminist thought.

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  • May, Vivian. Anna Julia Cooper, Visionary Black Feminist: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    May offers the most detailed study of Cooper’s social and political thought.

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  • Waters, Kristin B., and Carol B. Conaway, eds. Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds. Burlington: University of Vermont Press, 2007.

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    This collection includes critical commentaries (Part IV) on and assessments of Cooper’s thought.

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Anténor Firmin

Firmin served as the Haitian ambassador to France, where he became a member of the French Ethnological Society. Outraged by the racist misrepresentations of blacks that dominated the research in the Society, much of which was influenced by Arthur de Gobineau’s Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines (1853–1855), his response (Firmin 2000, originally published 1885) was a monumental critique of 19th-century philosophical anthropology with an outline for conditions by which anthropology, as a human science, could be more rigorously conducted. Firmin’s influence on Francophone Caribbean thought is now receiving careful study as Dash 2004 and Fluehr-Lobban 2000 attest. Those articles also chronicle his importance as a Haitian republicanist and the difficulties he faced in his efforts to affect the leadership that derailed the Haitian Revolution. Firmin’s impact on the CPA is demonstrated by the many members who focus on the question of human science as they explore such questions in the colonial and postcolonial contexts and those governed by dynamics of race and racism.

  • Dash, J. Michael. “Nineteenth-Century Haiti and the Archipelago of the Americas: Anténor Firmin’s Letters from St. Thomas.” Research in African Literatures 35.2 (2004): 44–53.

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    This article discusses Firmin’s correspondence on social and political thought and Pan-African politics while in exile in St. Thomas.

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  • Firmin, Anténor. The Equality of Human Races: A Nineteenth Century Haitian Scholar’s Response to European Racialism. Translated by Asselin Charles. New York: Garland, 2000.

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    This is a classic in Caribbean philosophical anthropology. It offers a critique of modern racist thought and anthrogeography, especially in the work of Kant and Hegel, and then outlines a prescient model of the human sciences that portends the work of Cheik Diop and Michel Foucault. Originally published in 1885 as De L’égalité des races humaines.

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  • Fleuhr-Lobban, Carol. “Introduction.” In The Equality of the Human Races: A Nineteenth Century Haitian Scholar’s Response to European Racialism. By Anténor Firmin. Translated by Asselin Charles, xi–l. New York: Garland, 2000.

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    This excellent introduction offers a concise biography of Firmin; outlines his contributions to the theoretical and empirical study of human beings and places them in the context of the political situation raised by the Haitian Revolution.

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Audre Lorde

An icon of Afro-feminism, Lorde articulated the contradictions of racial homogeneity in the feminist movement and the complexity of negotiating her lesbian identity in ways critical of that tendency. Her work as a poet also played on processes of interpellation, where naming becomes a crucial consideration of semiological transformation. Lorde 1984 is a classic work of recent black feminist thought. More than a work of cultural criticism, it is also rhetorically influenced by Lorde’s poetic voice in such service. Born of parents from the Virgin Islands, Lorde’s work exemplified the complex mixture of autobiography, critical thought, and poetic reflection shared by a variety of Caribbean writers such as Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Édouard Glissant, and, more recently, Simone Schwartz-Bart and Maryse Condé.

  • Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press Feminist Series. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984.

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    One of the most influential writings in the feminism of women of color movement. Offers masterful theoretical tropes, such as the need for developing one’s own conceptual and artistic tools against oppression in the influential essay, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

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C. L. R. James

C. L. R. James has had a profound impact on the intellectual history of the Caribbean. A student of Eric Williams, James approached many of the key themes in Caribbean thought, including the Haitian Revolution (James 1989), Hegelian and Marxist theory (James 2005), art, morality, and collective action in the West Indies (James 1993b), and “American civilization,” that is, US cultural and political phenomena (James 1993a). One of his lasting legacies has been a historical account of the Haitian Revolution that celebrated and problematized abolition and independence in a global economic order (James 1989). His profound effect on the intellectual contours of the Caribbean are attested to in Buhle 1986 and Henry and Buhle 1992.

  • Buhle, Paul, ed. C. L. R. James: His Life and Work. London: Allison & Busby, 1986.

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    This collection of essays and extracts provides a good introduction to C. L. R. James through the eyes of intellectuals influenced by his work. Works by Walter Rodney, Manning Marable, Grace Lee Boggs, and James Boggs document the effect that James had on the trajectory of individuals and the Caribbean. An ideal place to start for students and scholars.

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  • Henry, Paget, and Paul Buhle, eds. C. L. R. James’s Caribbean. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1992.

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    A more specialized collection of essays than Buhle 1986, this anthology has the great benefit of two interviews with James, interpretive essays of major works, and a section on James’s political life titled “Praxis.” The preface is a commendable resource in its charting of James’s thought on multiple fronts; the whole enterprise would be valuable for advanced scholars and students.

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  • James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. 2d ed. New York: Vintage, 1989.

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    This is a classic work in Caribbean historical thought. James offers a history of the Haitian Revolution with an exploration of the conditions by which the enslaved attempted to radicalize and therefore transform the tenets of the French Revolution. Originally published in 1938.

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  • James, C. L. R. American Civilization. Edited by Anna Grimshaw and Keith Hart. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993a.

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    Posthumous publication of James’s meditation on the United States, this text demonstrates the power of his critical apparatus on a nation intent on military, economic, and intellectual domination of the Caribbean. Written in 1950, it offers a rich outside perspective on American culture and politics.

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  • James, C. L. R. Beyond a Boundary. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993b.

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    Examines West Indian society and politics through the prism of cricket. At the center of this text is an exploration of art, morality, play, and the relation between the individual and the collective. Those who understand cricket would benefit most due to the complex nature of its guiding allegory.

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  • James, C. L. R. Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx, Lenin. London: Pluto, 2005.

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    James argues that understanding Hegelian dialectics illuminates the transformations by Marx and some of the mistakes of Lenin. James’s analysis includes his discussion of creative universality, which refers to the often-untapped potential of the black proletariat, lumpenproletariat, and peasants.

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Édouard Glissant

One of the most important writers and intellectuals from the Francophone Caribbean, Glissant received his primary and secondary education in Martinique. He studied in the same school that Fanon attended and where Aimé Césaire taught. He developed many of his ideas in conversation with the writings of those other two intellectual giants and inspired new movements and ideas himself. Glissant 1989 emphasizes the value of creolization for decolonization, elements of which are theorized in terms of a “poetics of relation” in Glissant 1997, where the author continues his conversation with figures such as Césaire and Fanon while drawing from the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri and from chaos theory (instead of surrealism or existential phenomenology, which were primary theoretical sources for Glissant and Fanon, respectively). Dash 1995 offers an encompassing overview of some of Glissant’s literary and theoretical work, while Britton 1999 seeks to demonstrate the relevance of Glissant for postcolonial theory.

  • Britton, Celia M. Édouard Glissant and Postcolonial Theory: Strategies of Language and Resistance. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999.

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    This book addresses the general neglect of Glissant’s work in the corpus of postcolonial theory and demonstrates his contributions to it by putting his work in dialogue with Anglophone postcolonial literature and related sources, including Glissant’s compatriot Frantz Fanon. The book focuses on Glissant’s use of and reflections about language and his analysis and responses to colonization.

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  • Dash, J. Michael. Édouard Glissant. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511549847Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First full-length study of Glissant’s work. It begins with a reflection on Glissant’s intellectual trajectory and goes on to consider his literary and theoretical production, including analyses of Glissant 1989 and Glissant 1997. Dash, who kept an active dialogical relation with Glissant, has an acute awareness of Caribbean literature and of the social and political issues that Glissant addresses, making his book an indispensible source for Glissant studies.

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  • Glissant, Édouard. Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays. Translated by J. Michael Dash. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989.

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    Major statement about Caribbean culture, poetics, history, and subjectivity with emphasis on the analysis of the French- and Creole-speaking Caribbean, particularly Martinique. Identifies fundamental problems in the Caribbean and explores the possibilities for the kind of linkages and relations that offer paths to decolonized conviviality. Together with an excellent introduction by J. Michael Dash, this is a classic in Caribbean thought.

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  • Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

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    Beginning with a profound reflection on the “abyss” of the experience of the Middle Passage and deterritorialization, Glissant moves to a critique of “root identity” and a brave defense of the “poetics of relation.” Elaborates on the concept of relation as a nonhierarchical principle of relationality that both captures central dimensions of the Caribbean and serves as a poetic, social, and political decolonial force.

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Frantz Fanon

Born in Martinique, Fanon’s efforts in struggles for liberation included fighting in World War II and serving as a theoretician and ambassador for the Algerian Liberation Front. A canonical figure of Caribbean thought, his vocation as a psychiatrist and his studies in philosophy enabled his famous interrogations into the impact of racism and colonialism on the human sciences, the transformative effect of active participation in struggles for liberation and social change, and the challenges of overcoming colonialism through the construction of new concepts and the cultivation of new infrastructures for the facilitation of freedom. Fanon 2008 and Fanon 2009 originally appeared in 1952. The importance of this text emerged in the 1980s as postcolonial thought turned to psychoanalytical dimensions of coloniality and in the 1990s as a prescient work in decolonial philosophy of the human sciences. The text is enigmatic because of the way in which it is written, mixing biography with philosophical critique, literary and cultural criticism, and developments in psychiatry. Fanon 1965 (originally published in 1959) appeared during the Algerian War (1954–1962) under the title Year V of the Algerian Revolution (literal translation from French) as a response to the French portrait of the Algerian Liberation Front as mere terrorists. This classic study advanced the thesis of changed social relations through active participation or assertion of human agency. Fanon 1988 is a collection of his articles and talks during the 1950s. Fanon 2004 (originally published in 1961), dubbed “the handbook of the revolution” by the Black Panthers, is a genuine classic in political thought. A theme of black revolutionary thought is a critique of black second-class revolutionary status, where black freedom must succeed emancipation of the white working class or their correlate. Fanon articulates struggles that must be waged beyond the confines of perceived revolutionary orthodoxies, particularly those on violence posed by Friedrich Engels. De Oto 2003 won the CPA’s Frantz Fanon Prize in 2005. Lewis Gordon, former president of the CPA, coedited Gordon, et al. 1996, which was the first anthology of philosophy and social and political theory engaging Fanon’s thought. Sharpley-Whiting 1997 is the first book-length study of Fanon in feminist studies.

  • De Oto, Alejandro J. Frantz Fanon: Política y poética del sujeto poscolonial. México City: El Colegio de México, 2003.

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    This book won the Frantz Fanon Prize at the CPA meeting in Puerto Rico in 2005. Examines the poetics of writing the postcolonial subject and offers a critique of that subjectivity through the tensions posed by Fanon’s biography and the style and content of his writings.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. A Dying Colonialism. Translated by Haakon Chevalier. New York: Grove Press, 1965.

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    Written in the fifth year of the Algerian War (1954–1962) as a response to the French portrait of the Algerian Liberation Front as mere terrorists, this classic study of a society in transition transcended the trap of propaganda by offering the still-relevant thesis of changed social relations through active participation or asserting one’s agency.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. Toward the African Revolution: Political Essays. Translated by Haakon Chevalier. New York: Grove Press, 1988.

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    This is the English translation, abridged, of the collection of Fanon’s essays edited by Marie-Josephe Dublé Fanon (Fanon’s widow). Fanon actually orated most of his work, which she typed and discussed with him. She brought that background to assembling this important collection, which included provocative essays on the practice of psychiatric care for North Africans in France, among other topics.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press, 2004.

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    Dubbed “the handbook of the revolution” by the Black Panthers, this work is a genuine classic in political thought. The text makes the points that decolonization is in itself violent (because it is considered illegitimate by a colonial order) and that the agents of decolonization become the impediments of postcolonial freedom often through appeals to nationalism and racism instead of the open project of national liberation.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Richard Wilcox. New York: Grove Press, 2008.

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    A sociogenic study of blackness in Martinique, the importance of this text emerged in the 1980s as postcolonial thought turned to psychoanalytical dimensions of coloniality. It focuses on the devastating effects of racism and colonialism in the formation of subjectivity and human agency, as well as in the very attempts to study them, thus becoming important for the area of decolonial human sciences.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. Piel negra, máscaras blancas. Madrid: Editorial Akal, 2009.

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    This recent Spanish translation of Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks) has the virtue of an accompanying introduction, preface, and set of appendices in the form of critical essays by Amir Samin, Immanuel Wallerstein, Judith Butler, Lewis R. Gordon, Ramón Grosfoguel, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Walter D. Mignolo, and Sylvia Wynter.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R., T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, and Renée T. White, eds. Fanon: A Critical Reader. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1996.

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    Offers a description of five stages in Fanon scholarship. In addition to the foreword and afterword, there are twenty-one original essays in six parts under the topics of “Oppression,” “Questioning the Human Sciences,” “Identity and the Dialectics of Recognition,” “Fanon and the Emancipation of Women of Color,” “Postcolonial Dreams, Neocolonial Realities,” and “Resistance and Revolutionary Violence.”

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  • Sharpley-Whiting, T. Denean. Frantz Fanon: Conflicts and Feminisms. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.

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    This book examines the debates regarding the location of Fanon’s work in feminist theory, particularly those in cultural studies in the 1980s and early 1990s, which presented Fanon as misogynist because of his critique of Mayotte Capécia’s Je suis martiniquaise (Paris: Correa, 1958) as an exemplificaton of affirmed colonial relations. The author also explores specific dimensions of Fanon’s thought that are useful for feminist liberation thought.

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Jane and Paulette Nardal

Jane and Paulette Nardal, commonly referred to as the Nardal sisters, played a major role in the formation of the négritude movement. They provided the physical space where the movement began and founded La Revue du Monde Noir in 1931, which published poetry and essays in French and English. Their writings also played an important role in négritude’s discourse. Sharpley-Whiting 2002, in General Overviews, offers an analysis of the Nardal’s sisters contributions and includes some of their writings in translation to English. Nardal 2009 offers a collection of fourteen essays by Paulette Nardal in translation.

  • Nardal, Paulette. Beyond Negritude: Essays from Woman in the City. Translated by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting. SUNY Series, Philosophy and Race. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009.

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    This collection of essays offers a chronicle of Paulette Nardal’s Christian humanist feminist thought on race, gender, politics, and religion from 1945 to 1948. Includes an introduction and annotated translation by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting.

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José Martí

One of the most influential writers in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Cuban José Martí has become a main source for thinking about Latin America and its relation to the United States and its own internal diversity. Martí 1977 offers a collection of his reflections on “Our America” in their original Spanish. Martí 2002 is an anthology of selected works translated in English. Belnap and Fernández 1998 includes interpretive essays that focus on Martí’s contribution to hemispheric cultural studies, and Rivas Toll 2007 offers an account of Martí as a philosopher.

  • Belnap, Jeffrey, and Raúl Fernández, eds. José Martí’s “Our America”: From National to Hemispheric Cultural Studies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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    Edited volume that highlights Martí’s contributions to Latin American letters in conjunction with a recognition of the value of his writings from and about the United States. Martí’s intellectual and political life are taken as an exemplary case of hemispheric cultural studies, a way of thinking and writing that is explored by the coeditors and fifteen other contributors to the volume.

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  • Martí, José. Nuestra América. Biblioteca Ayacucho 15. Caracas, Venezuela: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1977.

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    Anthology of Martí’s letters, articles, notes, and discourses that address his view of “our America.” This volumes includes an essay on the sources and roots of Martí’s thought by Juan Marinello and a chronology that shows events in Martí’s life side-by-side important events and written works in Cuba, in Latin America, and internationally.

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  • Martí, José. José Martí: Selected Writings. Edited and translated by Esther Allen. New York: Penguin, 2002.

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    Collection of Martí’s writings from early in his career to the year of his death. Includes essays, letters, notes, poetry, and newspaper articles covering a wide scope of issues, including impressions of the United States, views of Latin America, and discussions of figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Karl Marx. The collection begins with an introduction by Roberto González Echeverría.

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  • Rivas Toll, Elena. “Reflexiones en torno a la filosofía de José Martí en el contexto de la filosofía latinoamericana.” A Parte Rei: Revista de Filosofía (January 2007): 1–27.

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    Useful overview of commentators and authors who have addressed Martí’s philosophy and Martí as philosopher, as well as an elegant exposition of Martí’s “cosmovision” and his views on knowledge, methods, and the human being.

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Marcus Garvey

Born in Jamaica in the 19th century, Marcus Garvey traveled across the Caribbean and Latin America before organizing the Universal Negro Improvement Association and amassing a following of millions under his articulation of black nationalism, which was linked to Pan-Africanism. His impact on back-to-Africa movements well into the 20th century was enormous, the most popular of which is the Rastafari movement in Jamaica. Garvey 1977 is an anthology of his thought. Martin 1986 is the longstanding influential study of Garvey. Lewis 1988 focuses on his political thought. Lewis and Bryan 1991 is a substantial anthology on the impact of his thought on contemporary black politics and thought.

W. E. B. Du Bois

Perhaps the most towering canonical figure of Africana thought, Du Bois addressed nearly every topic of interest in the CPA over the course of his long life (b. 1868–d. 1963). His monumental studies and critical evaluations of the social sciences make him one of the “fathers” of modern sociology and a major theorist of the human sciences (especially through his work on race and racism); his work addresses philosophy of history, phenomenology, philosophy of religion and liberation theology, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, feminist theory, and philosophical anthropology. Du Bois 1996 (originally published in 1899) is a classic of modern ethnographic sociology and urban sociology. Du Bois 1999a (originally published in 1903) is the most influential work in African American thought and one of the most important in African diasporic and contemporary social thought. Du Bois 1999b (originally published in 1920) expands the discussion of race, with the addition of gender, in American society. Du Bois 1992 (originally published in 1935) historicizes the challenge of freedom in history. Chandler 2006 examines Du Bois’ critique of the human sciences. Giroux 2003 raises the question of Du Boisian historiography. Lewis 1993 and Lewis 2001 are definitive biographical works, while Rabaka 2007 examines Du Bois’s contributions to Africana critical thought.

  • Chandler, Nahum Demitri. “The Figure of W. E. B. Du Bois as a Problem for Thought.” CR: The New Centennial Review 6.3 (2006): 29–55.

    DOI: 10.1353/ncr.2007.0014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Du Bois and his critique of the forms of social scientific study of the negro are here posed as a problem for thought through the ruptures they pose for the construction of methodologies and the formation of questions in the human sciences.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. Black Reconstruction in America: 1860–1880. New York: Atheneum, 1992.

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    This classic study argues that the undermining of black reconstruction through the emergence of American apartheid was a blow to the advancement of freedom. Du Bois’ critique also examines racist historiography, which was (and continues to be) normative and outlines conditions of more rigorous historical study. Originally published in 1935.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996.

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    A classic of modern ethnographic sociology, this work presents a model of social scientific study of African Americans and problems of urban sociology. Although premised on assumptions of positivist science at the time of its original publication (1899), which led to Du Bois developing creative innovations in statistical assessment and the use of grafts, the work raises the limitations of that approach for the study of race.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticisms. Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Terri Hume Oliver. New York: Norton, 1999a.

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    Most influential work in African American thought and one of the most important in Africana thought and social philosophy. Lays the groundwork for many of the central themes of Africana thought, including the articulation of the inner life of black people as a theoretical problematic and the significance of making people into “problems” instead of addressing the problems they face. First published 1903.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1999b.

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    This work offers what Levering Lewis (see Lewis 1993) calls the autobiography of race through expanding on the themes in the earlier work to include classic treatments of such topics as whiteness or white consciousness and the lack thereof; the situation of women, formulated as the damnation of women; the Christological challenge of Jesus’ coloredness; and the prophetic and existential challenges posed by race and racism. First published 1920.

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  • Giroux, Susan Searls. “Reconstructing the Future: Du Bois, Racial Pedagogy and the Post-Civil Rights Era.” Social Identities 9.4 (2003): 563–598.

    DOI: 10.1080/1350463032000174678Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article offers a detailed discussion of Black Reconstruction (see Du Bois 1992), arguing that it offers a critique of historiography of great importance for critical pedagogy and raises important comparisons between the regressive politics at the dawn of the twentieth century and those of the twenty-first. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Lewis, David Levering. W. E. B. Du Bois—Biography of a Race, 1868–1919. New York: Holt, 1993.

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    Pulitzer Prizewinning volume that offers the definitive biography of Du Bois and the historical context of his thought.

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  • Lewis, David Levering. W. E. B. Du Bois—The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919–1963. New York: Holt, 2001.

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    Second volume of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Du Bois. This one begins in 1919 and ends with Du Bois’s death in Ghana.

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  • Rabaka, Reiland. W.E.B. Du Bois and the Problems of the Twenty-First Century: An Essay on Africana Critical Theory. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2007.

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    This work raises the question of Africana critical thought and places Du Bois at the center of this question through his critique of thought itself and its relation to questions of social and political transformation.

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Walter Rodney

Rodney (b. 1942–d. 1980) was one of the giants of what Paget Henry (see Henry 2000, cited under General Overviews) calls Caribbean “historicism.” His work articulated, in Afro-Marxist terms, the argument of “underdevelopment,” the decimation of the cultural and material infrastructure of a people or groups of people through processes of colonization, and also models of solidarity across the class divides of Caribbean peoples. Rodney 1982 is the classic historical study of underdevelopment, and Rodney 1975 (originally published in 1969) is an example of the solidarity argument.

  • Rodney, Walter. The Groundings with My Brothers. London: Bogle-L’Ouverture, 1975.

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    This work influenced the Rastafari movement and the aspect of Caribbean thought premised upon engagement with and revolutionizing the lumpenproletariat and underclass. The argument challenges Marxist orthodoxy of focusing on an industrialized working class and raised the question of black revolutionary intellectual activity as being “grounded” in the black masses, the majority of whom did not fit neatly into the orthodox model. Originally published 1969.

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  • Rodney, Walter. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1982.

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    This is the classic text on underdevelopment in Africana historical thought. Rodney argued that colonialism and the slave trades systematically impeded ongoing processes of modernization in Africa and inaugurated structures of dependency.

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Contemporary Figures

This section focuses on the work of some founding members and other influential contemporary figures in the association. The CPA began in a conversation that took place in an event that celebrated Sylvia Wynter’s work. Brian Meeks, one of the CPA founding members, is one of the principal contributors to political theory in the Caribbean and works at the Center for Caribbean Thought at the University of West Indies. He was a key figure in the revival of Caribbean thought in the region before the emergence of the CPA. Paget Henry, a founding member and editor of the C.L.R. James Journal, which is the official journal of the CPA, wrote the text Caliban’s Reason (see Henry 2000, cited under General Overviews), which has served as a cornerstone for myriad conversations in the association. Pateman and Mills, also a founding member and a Secretary of Gender Studies, works on political theory and is one of the most recognized figures studying race today. He is also attentive to gender and class and has been a member of the CPA’s Committee on Gender. Brinda Mehta has also been a member of this committee, and she has done great work elucidating the multiple contributions of Caribbean women writers, including Indo-Caribbean writers from Trinidad and its diaspora. Mehta’s writings also provide an insight into Caribbean, North African, and Arab feminism. Feminist theory is one of the main areas of Linda Martín Alcoff, a US Latina philosopher of Panamanian descent who specializes in epistemology and theories of the self. A former president of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and an internationally renowned feminist philosopher, Alcoff is trained in analytic and continental philosophies, and she is in active dialogue with Latin American, Latina/o, African American, and Caribbean philosophy. She is a CPA member, as are also Lewis Gordon and Nelson Maldonado-Torres, founding members of the CPA and the first two presidents of the association. Gordon is one of the foremost scholars in the tradition of Africana philosophy. His writings cover multiple fields, from music to political theory, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of the human sciences, and Afro-Jewish studies, among other areas. Maldonado-Torres works on decolonial ethics, political theory, epistemology of transdisciplinary and critical “ethnic studies” fields, and theories of race and coloniality.

Brian Meeks

A major theoretician of radical Caribbean thought and politics, Meeks has been instrumental in the development of recent political thought in the Anglo-Caribbean. Also a novelist, his work reaches across the historicist/poeticist divide of Caribbean thought. Meeks 1996 theorizes Caribbean revolutionary politics; Meeks 2000 examines these issues with a focus on Jamaica and Trinidad; and Meeks 2001 expands the discussion to the Latin Caribbean and to theories of revolution from the French Revolution to recent developments in political science.

  • Meeks, Brian. Radical Caribbean: From Black Power to Abu Bakr. Barbados: The Press University of the West Indies, 1996.

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    This work theorizes revolutionary and insurrectionary politics in the Caribbean context and offers a conception of Afro-Caribbean Marxism. It also includes a discussion of C. L. R. James’s critique of Walter Rodney, among other topics of interest to political theorists.

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  • Meeks, Brian. Narratives of Resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Caribbean. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2000.

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    An analysis of social, political, and intellectual resistance to hegemony in Caribbean societies, beginning with the 1960 Henry Rebellion, Meeks illustrates how contemporary resistance has been manifested in Jamaica and Trinidad. Contends that, though small island states, Jamaica and Trinidad have the ability to produce social and political resistance and renewal.

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  • Meeks, Brian. Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Assessment of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2001.

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    Traces revolution from its ancient beginnings and dwells on it in connection to the politics of the French Revolution, considered by many the first revolution of the modern era. It retains the idea of revolution as a potential facilitator of change. Cuban, Nicaraguan, and Grenadian revolutions are compared, using the theories of John Stuart Mill and Theda Skocpol.

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Brinda Mehta

Mehta’s work makes groundbreaking contributions to Caribbean and transnational feminisms, the study of the Indo-Caribbean, and “shifting of the geography of reason” through writings by Anglophone and Francophone women of color. She has served as Secretary for the Indo-Caribbean and member of the Committee on Gender at the CPA. Mehta 2004 is an award-wining book that focuses on Indo-Caribbean female subjectivity. Mehta 2009 is attentive to the commonalities among the female authors that it examines and their feminist sensibilities, as well as to the differences between the political status of the French Caribbean territories (Haiti on the one hand and Martinique and Guadeloupe on the other) and to the particular questions and insights that emerge in the diaspora. Mehta 2007 focuses on Arab Muslim women’s literature. Here one finds crucial elements for understanding Mehta’s views of memory, feminist critique, and decolonization in the Arab world and the Caribbean.

  • Mehta, Brinda. Diasporic (Dis)locations: Indo-Caribbean Women Writers Negotiate the Kala Pani. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2004.

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    Winner of the 2007 CPA Frantz Fanon prize for Best Book in Caribbean Thought, this is an astute and insightful study of “Indo-Caribbean female subjectivity” and “Indo-Caribbean and Afro Caribbean feminist dialogues” with attention to the practices of cultural creation, including culinary agency, and to the complexities of gender relations and sexuality.

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  • Mehta, Brinda. Rituals of Memory in Contemporary Arab Women’s Writing. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2007.

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    Describes women writers such as Algerian Assia Djebar and Egyptian Nawal El Saadawi as “agents of feminist action and social change” through their critique of patriarchy and their rituals of memory (2). These analyses intersect with Mehta’s views of Caribbean women’s writings and make a significant contribution to shifting the geography of reason.

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  • Mehta, Brinda. Notions of Identity, Diaspora and Gender in Caribbean Women’s Writing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230100503Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Brilliant analysis of questions of identity, diaspora, migration, and transnationalism in the work of Caribbean women writers from Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and their diasporas, including Maryse Condé and Edwidge Danticat. The text makes significant contributions to the understanding of transnationality, postcoloniality, migration, and Caribbean feminist thought.

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Charles W. Mills

Mills’s work focuses on critical race theory and political theory, and he explores the intersections with class. Mills 1997 focuses on the construction of nations as conditioned to white supremacy. This text is an important contribution to moral theory and moral psychology. Mills 1998 discusses black invisibility in historical narratives of Western philosophy and the academic professorate. It challenges dominant views of philosophy as a historical project and a profession. Mills 2003 is a critical intervention into Marxism in light of black radical political thought.

  • Mills, Charles W. The Racial Contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997.

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    Demonstrates how an unacknowledged “racial contract” has formulated a system of global European domination, birthed a hierarchy of full persons and subpersons, influenced white moral theory and moral psychology, and been imposed on nonwhites through ideological conditioning and violence.

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  • Mills, Charles W. Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

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    Eight essays that expose the absence of philosophical historical narratives that theorize the centrality of race in Western philosophy. The breath of topics include black–Jewish relations, gender and race, white supremacy, racism, and genocide, all of which are approached through an incisive analysis of historical and contemporary philosophy.

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  • Mills, Charles W. From Class to Race: Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

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    Argues for a critical theory that further develops insights of the black radical political tradition. Challenges conservative interpretations of key Marxist concepts that fail to note race as a central unit of analysis in the modern world.

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Lewis Gordon

Gordon, the first president of the CPA, is known as one of the architects of Africana existential philosophy, Africana phenomenology, and postcolonial phenomenology and for his work in Fanon studies, philosophy of human sciences, philosophy of race and racism, and philosophy of history in the Africana context. Raising problematics of philosophical anthropology, discourses of freedom, and metacritical challenges of reason, his work stands among the exemplars of systematic thought in Africana philosophy. These ideas unfold in Gordon 1995, a study of antiblack racism as a form of bad faith; Gordon 2000, which, along with the anthology Existence in Black (Gordon 1997, cited under Edited Volumes and Special Issues) establishes the academic field of black existentialism; Gordon 2006, which discusses the author’s theories of disciplinary decadence and teleological suspensions of disciplinarity; Gordon 2008, which offers the author’s philosophy of history in the Africana context; and Gordon and Gordon 2009, a discussion of the connections between disasters and decolonization struggles. Alcoff 2003 is an interview connecting Africana and Latin American studies and thought. Henry and Maldonado-Torres 2008 is a collection of critical articles on Gordon’s philosophy. Paradiso-Michau 2011 is a collection of articles exploring Gordon’s philosophy in the context of communicology.

  • Alcoff, Linda Martín. “A Philosophical Account of Africana Studies: An Interview with Lewis Gordon.” Nepantla: Views from South 4.1 (2003): 165–189.

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    This interview addresses the meeting of Africana studies and Latin American studies, Africana philosophy and Latin American philosophy, and the relevance of Gordon’s existential philosophy in the human sciences and liberation thought. Available online by subscription.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1995.

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    The author argues that bad faith is an attempt to evade human reality in the form of a lie. Because racism involves rejecting the humanity of certain groups of human beings, it is a form of bad faith. Antiblack racism is this lie pertaining to black people. The book radicalizes the discussion by arguing that such lies or forms of evasion occur at the level of theoretical investigation.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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    This book firmly established the field of black and Africana existentialism. It outlines Africana existential philosophy as interrogating the meaning of black suffering, justifying existence, being human, freedom, and the liberating potential of thought. Chapters include discussions of black autobiography, existential dimensions of struggles against enslavement, and epistemic dependency and liberation thought, among other topics.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. Disciplinary Decadence: Living Thought in Trying Times. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2006.

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    Building on ideas in Fanon and the Crisis of European Man: An Essay on the Philosophy of the Human Sciences (cited under Philosophy of the Human Sciences), Gordon pursues an investigation of disciplinary decadence, which has many implications and ramifications in the academy and society. He also offers “teleological suspensions” of disciplines and methods as a way of overcoming decadence.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. An Introduction to Africana Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Africana philosophy, as an intellectual enterprise, requires examining philosophical anthropology, freedom, and metacritical reflection on reason posed by the emergence of the African diaspora in the modern world.

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  • Gordon, Lewis, and Jane Anna Gordon. Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2009.

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    Arguing for alleviating the social conditions by which disasters become catastrophes, the authors argue, through discussions that include Frankenstein’s creature as a being wrapped in a decolonial struggle, for the decolonizing of divine warnings.

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  • Henry, Paget, and Nelson Maldonado-Torres, eds. Special Issue on Lewis Gordon. C.L.R James Journal 14.1 (2008).

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    The editors assembled a group of scholars from a variety of disciplines to address Gordon’s work on existentialism, phenomenology, Africana philosophy, theodicy, philosophy of human sciences, postcolonialism, ethics, and political thought. The essays include critical discussions of his theories of bad faith, race and racism, black consciousness, black existentialism, choices and options, epistemic closure, disciplinary decadence, teleological suspensions, and ontological suspensions.

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  • Paradiso-Michau, Michael R., ed. Special Issue: Beyond Disciplinary Decadence: Communicology in the Thought of Lewis R. Gordon. Atlantic Journal of Communication 19.1 (2011).

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    The issue has four essays on the relevance of Gordon’s work for communication theory or communicology with a response from Gordon. In his response, Gordon focuses on how the articles bring out the communicative conditions of sociality and their importance for his work in the philosophy of culture and communicative practice.

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Linda Martín Alcoff

A major voice in feminist philosophy, epistemology, and Latina/o thought, Alcoff bridges the gap between analytic and continental philosophies while also overcoming some of the limits in these philosophical discourses. Alcoff 1996 defends the view of knowledge as socially constructed yet does not do away with the idea of truth. Alcoff 2006 provides crucial considerations to understand the epistemological value of identity and experience and shows the need to seriously consider race and gender in accounts of the self and of knowledge. Alcoff and Mendieta 2000 marks a notable moment in the relation between US Latina/o and Latin American philosophy, serving as an example of an effort to “shift the geography of reason.”

  • Alcoff, Linda. Real Knowing: New Versions of the Coherence Theory. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996.

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    Explores the social aspects of epistemology and seeks to challenge dominant trends in philosophy. Through analyses of Foucault, Gadamer, and Derrida, Alcoff melds the social dimensions of their epistemologies with her understanding that truth need not be conceived of as relative.

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  • Alcoff, Linda. Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    Challenges various postmodern criticisms of identity (and identity politics) while affirming the hermeneutic nature and liberatory potential of identity. By taking a more realistic approach to identity, neither as overdetermined violence nor absolute freedom to create, Alcoff locates identity in an easily recognizable but often subtly overlooked theoretical place: where human agency meets social structure.

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  • Alcoff, Linda, and Eduardo Mendieta. Thinking from the Underside of History: Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

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    Coedited with one of the most important Latino philosophers today, this collection includes twelve interpretive and critical essays about Enrique Dussel’s philosophy of liberation, followed by an epilogue by Dussel himself. Dussel is the most prolific Latin American philosopher and one of the most influential. Alcoff is coauthor of the introduction and contributed with a single-authored essay on Dussel and Foucault.

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Nelson Maldonado-Torres

As founding member of the CPA, first secretary for the Hispanophone and Lusophone Caribbean, and the CPA’s second president, Maldonado-Torres has played a key role in promoting activities and conversations that connect studies of the Hispanic Caribbean with other linguistic zones in the region and with Africana studies. This effort is evinced in much of his work, including Maldonado-Torres 2004a, which puts in conversation major works in Hispanic and Afro-Caribbean philosophy. Maldonado-Torres 2008 is also a testament to the importance of intellectual connections that “shift the geography of reason.” It works through writings of Enrique Dussel, Emmanuel Levinas, and Frantz Fanon to offer a view of coloniality as the naturalization of the “death-ethics of war” and its opposite, decolonial ethics. Maldonado-Torres 2005b focuses on conceptions of reason in Fanon and C. L. R. James, while Maldonado-Torres 2007 explores ontological questions about race and colonization. Maldonado-Torres 2004b engages in a critique of ways in which race and space are linked in the work of a number of European philosophers, particularly Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, and Slavoj Zizek, while Maldonado-Torres 2005a offers an analysis of the ways in which Eurocentrism and Americanism relate in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11 in New York City.

  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “Searching for Caliban in the Hispanic Caribbean.” C.L.R. James Journal 10.1 (2004a): 106–122.

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    Compares and contrasts Osorio 1997 and Henry 2000 (both cited under General Overviews). Rojas Osorio is a prominent Colombian philosopher who resides in Puerto Rico and is the author of a multiplicity of texts about philosophy in Latin America and the Hispanic Caribbean. Information on Henry is provided in the section dedicated to his work.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “The Topology of Being and the Geopolitics of Knowledge: Modernity, Empire, Coloniality.” City 8.1 (2004b): 29–56.

    DOI: 10.1080/1360481042000199787Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critical of imperial and racial identity politics, concludes with a Fanonian call for “radical diversality and a decolonial geopolitics of knowledge” (p. 29). Proposes a distinction between the concepts of the “people,” the “multitude,” and the “damnée” in dialogue with the work of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “Decolonization and the New Identitarian Logics after September 11: Eurocentrism and Americanism against the Barbarian Threats.” Radical Philosophy Review 8.1 (2005a): 35–67.

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    Theorizes the linkages and differences between Eurocentrism and Americanism with references to figures that go from Hegel (in Europe) to Samuel Huntington (in the United States). Argues for the serious consideration of the legacies of figures such as Frantz Fanon and Gloria Anzaldúa for the decolonization of spatial imaginaries and views of the self in Europe, the United States, and beyond.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “Frantz Fanon and C.L.R. James on Intellectualism and Enlightened Rationality.” Caribbean Studies 33.2 (2005b): 149–194.

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    This is a comparative analysis of Fanon’s and James’s views on reason and the role of the intellectual. It focuses on how rationality and intellectual work function in colonial contexts and on the critiques of normative conceptions of reason that emerge from those spaces. It also explores the relation between Fanonian “sociegenesis” and James’s view of reason as the task of making the universal concrete.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept.” Cultural Studies 21.2–3 (2007): 240–270.

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    The author aims to clarify the concept of “coloniality of being” and spells it out in dialogue with the writings of Descartes, Heidegger, and Fanon. The “damné,” and not “dasein,” appear as the entry point to examine this dimension of (sub-)ontology. This leads to the idea of decoloniality and “des-gener-acción” of being, fundamentally achieved by paradoxical acts of giving and receiving that involve political activity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

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    This text combines an innovative interpretation and a critical analysis of the works of Emmanuel Levinas, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel and a creative elaboration of what the author describes as “decolonial ethics.” It also presents a view of coloniality as the expression and sedimentation of “master morality” and a theory of race as the naturalization of the “death-ethics” of war.

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Paget Henry

Henry is the leading Antiguan sociologist, philosopher, and political economist and one of the most influential Caribbean thinkers. He is the founding editor of the C.L.R. James Journal, which is now the official journal of the CPA, and The Antigua-Barbuda Review. He is also the winner of the first Frantz Fanon Prize for Best Book in Caribbean Thought given by the CPA for his work Caliban’s Reason (Henry 2000, cited under General Overviews). Henry 1985 set the standard for the study of Antigua in the social sciences. Henry 1997 brings Kierkegaardian existentialism and Rastafari thought together, and Henry 2000 is a critique of Jügen Habermas’s polemic on myth. Henry 2004 outlines Cugoano’s response to Hume’s thought. Henry 2005 considers East Indian transcendentalism as a resource for Indo-Caribbean philosophy, while Henry 2006 explores the conditions within which African American philosophy has had to develop and its contributions to African American studies. Alcoff 2003 is an interview with Henry where he discusses his view of philosophy and his intellectual trajectory.

  • Alcoff, Linda Martín. “Caliban as Philosopher: An Interview with Paget Henry.” Nepantla: Views from South 4.1 (2003): 147–163.

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    Revealing interview with Paget Henry. Alcoff is the perfect interlocutor to unravel some of Henry’s basic ideas and experiences. Discussion includes his understanding of the relationship between philosophy and culture, his education in New York during the late 1960s, and poststructuralism’s relationship to anticolonial thought. Of interests to philosophers, critical theorists, and anyone interested in Henry’s thought. Available online by subscription.

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  • Henry, Paget. Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1985.

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    This book offers a history of Antigua and the political economy of the region through the resources of dependency theory and Caribbean historicism.

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  • Henry, Paget. 1997. “Rastafarianism and the Reality of Dread.” In Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy. Edited by Lewis Gordon, 157–164. New York, Routledge, 1997.

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    Henry here examines the similarities and differences between Kierkegaard’s and Rastafari’s conceptions of dread. The latter were able to reach a semiotic achievement, which is dignity brought to the dreaded appearance of black or African signifiers.

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  • Henry, Paget. “Myth, Language, and Habermasian Rationality: Another Africana Contribution.” In Perspectives on Habermas. Edited by Lewis Edwin Hahn, 89–112. Chicago: Open Court, 2000.

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    Henry takes on Habermas’s effort to rationalize society through the eradication of myth by raising the problem of the mythic organization of rationalization and the more expanded sense of reason offered by a willingness to engage the meanings in mythic thought.

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  • Henry, Paget. “Between Hume and Cugoano: Race, Ethnicity and Philosophical Entrapment.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 18.2 (2004): 129–148.

    DOI: 10.1353/jsp.2004.0013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that modern philosophy’s integration of racial hierarchies created a warped picture of non-Europeans and Europeans alike. By displaying the philosophical mechanisms and rationale behind such self-deception, Henry’s argument transcends mere documentation of European culpability. In contrast, Africana philosophy is self-reflective and holds the potential for decentering Europe and its philosophical entrapments. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Henry, Paget. “Wynter and the Transcendental Spaces of Caribbean Thought.” In After Man, Towards the Human: Critical Essays on Sylvia Wynter. Edited by Anthony Bogues, 258–289. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle, 2005.

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    Henry offers a critique of Caribbean meta-philosophical explorations of the conditions for its possibility resting primarily in the genealogical line to poststructuralism offered by German transcendental idealism. The Hindu heritage of the Indo-Caribbean suggests also considering the transcendental resources of Indian thought.

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  • Henry, Paget. “Afro-American Studies and the Rise of African-American Philosophy.” In A Companion to African American Studies. Edited by Lewis Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, 223–245. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470996645Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Henry offers a history and critique of American philosophy through a discussion of resistance to African American philosophy in the American academy. He discusses how other areas of the humanities and social sciences, especially literature and religious studies, responded to contributions from African American studies while the recalcitrance of philosophy led to the development of alternative approaches to the continued development of African American philosophy.

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Sylvia Wynter

Sylvia Wynter’s influence over the critical thought of the Caribbean has been immense. Wynter has wrestled with Western humanism and the theoretical underpinnings of European dominance throughout an active career of more than fifty years. Wynter 1984 explores the inauguration of humanism as heresy and the potential of current heresies that are part of people of color narratives and theoretical interventions. In line with this argument, Wynter 1990 argues that the fulfillment of the European novel by Ralph Ellison is a potential liberatory moment in intellectual and literary history, an important feature that is also found in the work of Caribbean authors such as Édouard Glissant (Wynter 1989). Wynter 1991 interprets the “discovery of America” as given rise to subtle but destructive changes in religious and philosophic thought. Wynter 2000 questions the notion of culture, and Wynter 2001 critiques philosophical approaches to consciousness and inner life. Wynter 2003 engages influential writers of “coloniality,” with the author recasting aspects of her thinking in a different light. Bogues 2005 collects critical essays on Wynter’s work. This anthology has its origin in the conference dedicated to Wynter in 2002, where the idea of the CPA first emerged and where its founding members organized to create it. Wynter herself does not refer to her work as “philosophy,” but her writings have had a profound influence on many members of the association. This is consistent with the CPA’s approach to philosophy, which captures multiple conceptions of theory and ideas. Wynter’s constant attention to the possibilities, profound limits, and violence of the Western humanist tradition and the need to shift or propel reason beyond humanism has been, and will continue to be, critical for understanding past, present, and future thought and reality.

  • Bogues, Anthony, ed. After Man, Towards the Human: Critical Essays on Sylvia Wynter. Papers presented 14 June 2002 at the Center for Caribbean Thought, University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle, 2005.

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    This Festscrhift is the proceedings from the conference on Sylvia Wynter at which the CPA was founded. The essays each probe Wynter’s addressing the Foucauldian critique of discourses of man with her considerations of Aimé Césaire’s “science of the word” and Frantz Fanon’s observation of “sociogenesis” as clues to the human potential of a theory of post-European man.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “The Ceremony Must Be Found: After Humanism.” boundary 2 12.3 (1984): 19–70.

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    Wynter’s analysis of the early modern humanist heresy serves as the paradigm for interpreting modern European history and its ties to European domination. Challenges readers to transform humanism through the heresies of ethnic studies, African American studies, and other epistemic practices opposed to European intellectual hegemony. Of interest to scholars of political philosophy, colonialism, and disciplinarity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “Beyond the Word of Man: Glissant and the New Discourse of the Antilles.” World Literature Today 63.4 (1989): 637–648.

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    Meditation on Édouard Glissant’s oeuvre, the humanist tradition, and the existential state of the French Caribbean. Wynter’s analysis of paradigms of thought and her understanding of contemporary political and social realities form the foundation for her call for intellectual and existential strivings that transcend Westerncentric forms of humanism. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “On Disenchanting Discourse: ‘Minority’ Literary Criticism and Beyond.” In The Nature and Context of Minority Discourse. Edited by Abdul R. JanMohamed and David Lloyd, 432–469. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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    Wynter’s theorizing of the death of the European novel is the beginning of an argument that those who occupy “minority” status can put an end to the discourse of the human that accompanied the rise of European hegemony. Through an analysis of Cervantes’s Don Quixote and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, this article provides a powerful argument for the transcendence of old paradigms in literary criticism through intellectual action.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “Columbus and the Poetics of the Propter Nos.” Annals of Scholarship 8.2 (1991): 251–286.

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    Argues that although Columbus’s 1492 voyage challenged parts of Catholic cosmology, the voyage’s completion affirmed others. “Discovery” gave rise to the extension and creation of paradigms of hierarchy and distinctions that cast non-Europeans as inferior. Wynter tracks the rise of bourgeois man from this crucial transformation in religious thought.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “Africa, the West, and the Analogy of Culture: The Cinematic Text after Man.” In Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image. Edited by June Givanni, 25–76. London: British Film Institute, 2000.

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    Wynter here questions the use of the notion of culture in a critical effort to go beyond the age of man.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “Towards the Sociogenic Principle: Fanon, Identity, the Puzzle of Conscious Experience, and What It Is Like to Be ‘Black.’” In National Identities and Sociopolitical Changes in Latin America. Edited by Mercedes F. Durán-Cogan and Antonio Gómez-Moriana, 30–66. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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    Builds on the Fanonian problematic of lived experience of the black by pointing out that the inner life of black people is enigmatic from a perspective that questions their humanity. Wynter teases out how Fanon’s appeal to sociogenesis addresses the conditions under which such a problematic query could be posed in the first place and the possibilities of examining these questions beyond a philosophy of consciousness.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, after Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument.” CR: The New Centennial Review 3.3 (2003): 257–337.

    DOI: 10.1353/ncr.2004.0015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sustained engagement with theorists of coloniality breaks new ground. For Wynter, coloniality is another manifestation of the various processes that she has explored through her career: Europe’s construction of man and Europe’s colonization of the globe. Wynter’s breadth, engagement with new interlocutors, and reinterpretation of her own themes extend and deepen her corpus.

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Areas of Emphasis and Fundamental Problems

If there is an underlying principle in the work of the CPA, it is that questions and problems are more fundamental than strict methods. The association perceives philosophy as an activity that allows one to identify problems, conceptualize them in ways that capture their complexity, and use, modify, and invent methods and approaches in a flexible way to better understand and explain the root causes of the problems investigated and then suggest solutions. This section focuses on some of those problems and areas of emphasis in the understanding of the world. Coloniality, gender and sexuality, race and racism, creolization, and double consciousness, among other areas selected for this section, are among the most widely explored by members of the association.

Coloniality and Decoloniality

Few matters, if any, have been more central to the historical experience of the Caribbean in the past five hundred years than colonialism. Dussel 1995, Quijano and Wallerstein 1992, and Wynter 1995 explore the foundations of Western modernity in light of the constitutive role of the colonial experience in the Americas. Quijano 2000 introduces the coloniality of power as a logic and a form of social and global organization that deeply shapes modern subjectivities as well as social and global imaginaries. Lugones 2007 demonstrates the extent to which modernity is also rooted in a “colonial/modern gender system” that creates genders and subgenders. Mignolo 2000 focuses on concepts that are partly the outcome of coloniality but also serve to decolonize knowledge and selves. These themes are part of the work of intellectuals from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States whose work is found in Mignolo and Escobar 2009.

  • Dussel, Enrique. The Invention of the Americas: Eclipse of “The Other” and the Myth of Modernity. Translated by Michael D. Barber. New York: Continuum, 1995.

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    Powerful thesis that the birth of modernity resulted in a system of domination based on a center/periphery theoretical and practical duality. Utilizes archeological evidence of pre-Columbian America to combat tenets of the myth of inferiority and lack of civilization. It unpacks the mythology of modernity that is exemplified by Hegel’s writings on world history, where Europe is cast as the highpoint of culture, civilization, and truth.

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  • Lugones, María. “Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System.” Hypatia 22.1 (2007): 186–209.

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    Combines the concept of “coloniality of power” with an analysis of the emergence of the modern gender system. Lugones traces the ways in which colonialism constructed two interconnected gender dynamics (and gender itself): a light one that dominated the society of colonizers and a dark one that dominated the relationship between the colonizer and colonized.

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  • Mignolo, Walter. Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

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    Through such concepts as colonial difference, border thinking, and border gnosis, this text explores the coloniality of power and its manifestations in the social sciences, area studies, and postcolonial studies.

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  • Mignolo, Walter, and Arturo Escobar, eds. Globalization and the Decolonial Option. New York: Routledge, 2009.

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    Rooted in the work of the modernity/coloniality/decoloniality collective, presents coloniality of power, decolonial thinking, and related concepts as part of a research program and “an-other paradigm.”

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  • Quijano, Aníbal. “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America.” Nepantla: Views from South 1.3 (2000): 533–580.

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    The coloniality of power in the modern world cultivates racism and Eurocentrism, the result of which is a form of distorted self-image that must be overcome in epistemic and political practices of emancipation. Available online by subscription.

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  • Quijano, Aníbal, and Immanuel Wallerstein. “Americanity as a Concept, or the Americas in the Modern World-System.” International Social Science Journal 44.4 (1992): 549–557.

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    Traces the different constitutions and trajectory of British North America and Iberian South America in order to illuminate the emergence of America as the dominant power in the Americas and abroad. The constellation of powers that Quijano and Wallerstein identify as “Americanity” (coloniality, ethnicity, racism, and newness) are considered crucibles of modernity and its global capitalist system.

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  • Wynter, Sylvia. “1492: A New World View.” In Race, Discourse, and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View. Edited by Vera Lawrence Hyatt and Rex Nettleford, 5–57. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995.

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    Straddles those positions that wholly condemn Columbus and those that defend him. Theorizes that the results of Columbus’s voyages have been a set of powerful malevolent forces that can and must be transformed. Advocating a way between condemnation and acceptance, it argues that a new humanism is possible only when the hybridity of the Caribbean is taken seriously.

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Creolization

Authors such as Édouard Glissant have argued that creolization forms a fundamental aspect of Caribbean societies and culture. As attested by the special issue of the C.L.R. James Journal on “Creolizing Rousseau” (see Gordon and Roberts 2009 under Social and Political Philosophy), the concept has sparked considerable interest by members of the CPA. Creolization has also generated a movement dedicated to it (Bernabé, et al. 1993) and multiple uses and applications worldwide (Cohen and Toninato 2009).

  • Bernabé, Jean, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Raphaël Confiant. Éloge de la créolité / In Praise of Creoleness. Édition bilingue. Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1993.

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    A founding text of the créolité movement, this book argues for recognizing the reality of creolization in the Caribbean and celebrating the unique mixtures it engenders.

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  • Cohen, Robin, and Paola Toninato, eds. The Creolization Reader: Studies in Mixed Identities and Cultures. Routledge Student Readers 5. London: Routledge, 2009.

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    This comprehensive collection offers theoretical discussions of creolization and case studies of creolization across the globe.

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Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy is an approach to teaching guided by the resources of cultural critique and decolonizing knowledge. Although sharing affinities with John Dewey’s thought on democratic education, the founding text was Freire 2000 (originally published in 1967), which offered a model of pedagogy as a liberating practice. Haymes 2006 brings critical pedagogy and Africana existentialism together in the context of slavery. Giroux 1988 brought Freire’s thought to the context of North American schooling. Giroux 2010 builds on critical pedagogy as cultural critique to examine political challenges faced by contemporary universities. Gordon 2010a and Gordon 2010b advance a theory of “pedagogical imperatives,” which address the ongoing value of learning.

  • Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Continuum, 2000.

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    This classic text inaugurated critical pedagogy and a movement against which the Right continues to wage battle. Arguing against the bank model of education, which reduces knowledge to information to be stored in the brain as in the case of a bank deposit, Freire argues for an approach of humanization whereby the student’s agency is realized through engagement with practices of differentiating human relations in the world. Originally published in 1967.

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  • Giroux, Henry. Teachers as Intellectuals: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Learning. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 1988.

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    This important work of critical pedagogy takes on the question of schooling and teachers and the political significance of institutions of learning. Its argument about the importance of political intelligence as a feature of achieved literacy, whereby schools also prepare students for critically engaged citizenship, greatly influenced the development of philosophy of education (particularly regarding participatory or agency-based curricula), cultural criticism, and discourses on public education.

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  • Giroux, Susan Searle. Between Race and Reason: Violence, Intellectual Responsibility, and the University to Come. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

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    Addresses the complex negotiation of race and politics in the present academy by offering a critique of the folly of academic anti-intellectualism. Recent efforts to banish politics from universities have ironically made them more political than ever. The results are strange mutations such as, for example, from “political correctness” to, as Searls Giroux provocatively observes, “patriotic correctness.”

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  • Gordon, Jane Anna. “Beyond Anti-Elitism: Black Studies and the Pedagogical Imperative.” Review of Education, Pedagogy, & Cultural Studies 32.2 (2010a): 129–144.

    DOI: 10.1080/10714411003799033Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Building on the concept of pedagogical imperatives, coined by her and Lewis Gordon in A Companion to African American Studies (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), whereby teachers are obliged to continue learning as an act of good pedagogy, Gordon introduces the organizing aims of black studies programs as exemplars of this goal through the contradictions of society they explore and the humanistic imperatives they incur. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. “A Pedagogical Imperative of Pedagogical Imperatives.” Thresholds in Education 36.1–2 (2010b): 27–35.

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    This article was the Merritt Award for Excellence in Education lecture presented at Northern Illinois University in which Gordon outlines the philosophical tenets of the concept of pedagogical imperatives, which was coined by Jane Gordon and him in their introduction to A Companion to African American Studies (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006).

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  • Haymes, Stephen Nathan. “Pedagogy and the Philosophical Anthropology of African-American Slave Culture.” In Not Only the Master’s Tools: African-American Studies in Theory and Practice. Edited by Lewis R. Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, 173–204. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2006.

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    Draws on black existential themes in the context of efforts to reduce people to property to explore pedagogical practices developed by enslaved Africans in the United States. Outlines how practices of developing humanizing relationships under such difficult conditions enabled the production of cultural identities of survival and dignity and argues for drawing on such resources as a response to the contemporary challenges of learning faced by black communities.

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Culture and Aesthetics

The following entries include work on black and Caribbean aesthetics and culture through the lens of African philosophy (Bewaji 2003), musical expressions (Gordon 1997, Gordon 2005, Gordon 2008), and literary analysis (Paquet 2002). Martínez-San Miguel 2003 focuses on the culture of migration in the Hispanic Caribbean and part of its diaspora. The texts examine aesthetic and cultural productions that are produced under conditions of colonialism, postcolonialism, diaspora, and/or other circumstances that challenge the validity of these human expressions. The texts examine not only the aesthetic and cultural forms themselves but also the conditions under which they are produced, the cultures they are responding to, and, finally, critiques of these expressions as such.

  • Bewaji, John Ayotunde Isola. Beauty and Culture: Perspectives in Black Aesthetics: An Introduction to African Diaspora Philosophy of Art. Ibadan, Nigeria: Spectrum, 2003.

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    This work builds the case for Africana philosophy through discussions of philosophy of history and culture across African diasporic thought with emphasis on ideas from Africa.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. Her Majesty’s Other Children: Sketches of Racism from a Neocolonial Age. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.

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    The third part of this text is devoted to discussions of aesthetics and culture and includes chapters on jazz, postmodern aesthetics and hip-hop, and the medium of film as a mode of politico-aesthetic production. The subtext of the discussions is the importance of aesthetic assertion of self-worth under conditions of challenged dignity.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. “The Problem of Maturity in Hip Hop.” Review of Education, Pedagogy, & Cultural Studies 27.4 (2005): 367–389.

    DOI: 10.1080/10714410500339020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article offers a critique of aesthetic production that entraps black life in adolescence. The challenge to hip hop is to offer a model of adult life that is emancipating or exemplifying maturation, as posed by Fanon in his critique of a society that has no coherent notion of a black adult. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. “Must Revolutionaries Sing the Blues? Thinking through Fanon and the Leitmotif of the Black Arts Movement.” Africana Studies: A Review of Social Science Research 2 (2008): 87–103.

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    Argues that the Black Arts Movement, which affected the discussion of the arts in cultural studies and Africana thought, faced the limitations posed by the disjunction between aesthetic and political transformation. The call for a politico-aesthetics of revolution demands the presentation of mature art, which makes the revolutionary’s hope for a transformed society one of exemplifying models of adult life and politics exemplified by the blues.

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  • Martínez-San Miguel, Yolanda. Caribe Two Ways: Cultura de la migración en el Caribe insular hispánico. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Callejón, 2003.

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    Explores the impact of migrations from and to islands in the Hispanic Caribbean in the national imaginaries of the region and New York. Emphasis on artistic representations of migrations, including music, film, graffiti, and literature, among other genres.

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  • Paquet, Sandra Pouchet. Caribbean Autobiography: Cultural Identity and Self-Representation. Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.

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    Through an analysis of the literary tradition of Caribbean English-language authors, the text meditates on concepts of community, society, and notions of resistance within colonial and postcolonial rule through the use of autobiographies, slave narratives/testimonials, diaries and journals, fiction, written and oral narratives, and parody, among other literary methods.

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Double Consciousness

An essential term in Africana philosophy, feminist theory, African American studies, and other disciplines, double consciousness explores the terrain opened by being stuck between multiple cultures in a racialized society. It also refers to the psychological and epistemological conditions of those who are led to integrate the point of view of a normative and dominant dehumanizing other in their consciousness, leading to self-doubt but also to some key forms of knowledge and critical forms of consciousness. First articulated by W. E. B. Du Bois, this concept and theoretical tool has been invaluable for scholars studying the effects of modern racism on the modern subject (Du Bois 1999). In the following sources, the concept is given an adequate historical context and genealogy (Dickson 1999), found in its most famous articulation (Du Bois 1999), explored as a tool for understanding modernity and the cultural productions of the African diaspora (Gilroy 1993), discussed in relation to white antiracial consciousness (Chandler 2003), and as a tool for understanding key figures and themes in Africana philosophy (Henry 2005).

  • Chandler, Nahum Dimitri. “The Souls of An Ex-White Man: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Biography of John Brown.” CR: The New Centennial Review 3.1 (2003): 179–195.

    DOI: 10.1353/ncr.2003.0005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chandler examines Du Bois’ discussion of double consciousness and the transformation and splitting of the consciousness of whites who gain an understanding of the contradictions posed by slavery and racism in American society. Available online by subscription.

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  • Dickson, Bruce D. Jr. “W. E. B. Du Bois and the Idea of Double Consciousness.” In The Souls of Black Folk: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticisms. Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Terri Hume Oliver, 236–244. By W. E. B. Du Bois. New York: Norton, 1999.

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    This insightful essay traces the background and the material that Du Bois drew upon to create his concept of double consciousness. Following historical developments in psychology, romanticism, and transcendentalism, Dickson provides an illuminating history of this essential concept. Invaluable as a resource for understanding the emergence of double consciousness.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. Authoritative Text. Contexts. Criticisms. Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Terri Hume Oliver. New York: Norton, 1999.

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    Contains the classic articulation of double consciousness; Du Bois articulates the implications of being stuck between two different cultures: white American and African. Although a century old, this text still provides one of the best frameworks for thinking about subjectivity, social life, and cultural productions in a world shaped by the power of race. The stand-alone text, without the critical essays, was originally published in 1903.

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  • Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.

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    A theoretical triumph, this text has provided scholars with tools to rethink the origin and meaning of modernity, the relationships among various cultures, and the cultural productions of members of the African diaspora. Using double consciousness as the essential framework, it rereads the cultural productions of thinkers and artist of the African diaspora in a new and innovative light.

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  • Henry, Paget. “Africana Phenomenology: Its Philosophical Implications.” C.L.R. James Journal 11.1 (2005): 79–112.

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    Presents an explication of double consciousness in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, and Lewis Gordon. Expands the concept by coining the term “potentiated double consciousness” to refer to the second, dialectically generated movement of the concept as expressed in Africana philosophy.

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Gender and Sexuality

The following selections examine the constructions of gendered subjectivities for Caribbean and Caribbean diasporic populations. Through ethnographic fieldwork (Decena 2011), indigenous studies (Reddock 2004), and rearticulations of historical accounts (Shepherd, et al. 1995), gender is used as a lens through which to understand the multivalent experiences of Caribbean and diasporic populations. These pioneering texts argue for a reexamination of gendered and sexed subjectivities through the privileging of migration, class, race, history, and labor as sites of inquiry.

  • Decena, Carlos U. Tacit Subjects: Belonging and Same-Sex Desire among Dominican Immigrant Men. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

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    A pioneering text that undertakes an analysis of the various subjectivities of gay immigrant men of color. Utilizes ethnographic fieldwork with gay Dominicans in New York City to analyze how these men negotiate race, sexuality, and power within their families and communities. Through an analysis of race, class, migrations, and experiences in transnational locales, Decena illustrates how these men reconstitute and reformulate their identities.

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  • Reddock, Rhoda E., ed. Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities: Theoretical and Empirical Analyses. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2004.

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    Multidisciplinary anthology that addresses the theorizing of Caribbean masculinities, “gender socialization,” popular culture, and the relations among masculinity and class, ethnicity, and nation. This text is the result of a conference organized in 1996 by the Centre for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, and Tobago.

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  • Shepherd, Verene, Bridget Brereton, and Barbara Bailey, eds. Engendering History: Caribbean Women in Historical Perspective. London: James Currey, 1995.

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    This six-part text addresses the lack of analysis of Afro-Caribbean and Asian women in Caribbean history. Utilizes empirical scholarship and Pan-Caribbean approaches to provide an overview of women as historical subjects from the period of slavery to contemporary times. An invaluable contribution to the scholarship on Caribbean intellectual traditions and Caribbean feminisms in Caribbean historical discourses.

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Philosophy of the Human Sciences

A major concern of scholars in the CPA is the unfortunate role the human sciences played in the construction of colonizing epistemic practices. The question of the meaning of being human beyond such frameworks and the importance of constructing alternative models of human study are among the themes of this area of research. In addition, there is the problem of intelligibility of a being that transcends law-governed models of study as it is made clear in Du Bois 2000a. Du Bois 2000b is a classic formulation of problems in the human sciences from the perspective of Africana thought. Gordon 2000 is an elaboration of the notion of problem people as a concern of human science. Gordon 1995 raises these questions as a challenge for philosophy of liberation, and Gordon 2006, as well as Gordon and Gordon 2006, are efforts at examining these questions through Africana interrogations of black studies as a human science. Trouillot 2003 raises the question of anthropology as a human science dependent on dehumanizing models of human study.

  • Anderson, Elijah, and Tukufu Zuberi, eds. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1 (2000).

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    This special issue of the ANNALS contains the proceedings from the 100th anniversary celebration of W. E. B. Du Bois’ article “The Study of the Negro Problems,” published in 1898 in that journal. The issue brings together scholars across the social sciences, humanities, and life sciences addressing the themes of the paper, which is also reprinted in this special issue.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. “Sociology Hesitant.” boundary 2 27.3 (Fall 2000a): 37–44.

    DOI: 10.1215/01903659-27-3-37Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Du Bois poses the problem of sociology, which is to study a changing subject, to bring stasis to that which is changing, and to address the problem of being part of that changing subject—the study, as Du Bois puts it, of Law (science) and Chance (human actions). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. “The Study of Negro Problems.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568 (March 2000b): 13–27.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This classic and masterful essay outlines Du Bois’ position that the study of black people is often guided by prejudices rather than a serious commitment to acquiring social scientific knowledge. Still very much relevant today, this is a reprint of the article with the same title published in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 11 (1898): 1–23. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. Fanon and the Crisis of European Man: An Essay on Philosophy and the Human Sciences. New York: Routledge, 1995.

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    Inaugural work of the “fifth stage of Fanon studies” (see Gordon, et al. 1996 cited under “Frantz Fanon”). Addresses the problem of theories of liberation as human sciences. Focuses on crisis, history, typification, tragedy, and disciplinary perspectivism (where disciplinary decadence is introduced). Author continues pursuing some of these topics in Disciplinary Decadence (cited under Lewis Gordon).

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  • Gordon, Lewis R. “What Does It Mean to Be a Problem? W. E. B. Du Bois on the Study of Black Folk.” In Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought. By Lewis R. Gordon, 62–95. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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    Gordon argues that the construction of people into problems is a form of bad faith that suppresses the social dimensions of problematization. That sociality is opposed to bad faith calls for its definition, which Gordon offers through an existential phenomenological treatment of social reality and forms of problematization such as racism and oppression and their impact on the study and the meaning of being human.

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  • Gordon, Jane Anna. “Some Reflections on Challenges Posed to Social Scientific Method by the Study of Race.” In A Companion to African American Studies. Edited by Lewis R. Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, 279–303. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470996645.ch19Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The argument of this essay is that the call for the studying black people as human beings raises a challenge to qualitative methods in the social sciences and the study of history. Examining Herbert Gutman’s The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750–1925 (New York: Vintage, 1977) as an exemplar of such an approach, Gordon argues for social science premised on a critical double consciousness of human study.

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  • Gordon, Lewis R., and Jane Anna Gordon, eds. Not Only the Master’s Tools: African-American Studies in Theory and Practice. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2006.

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    Arguing that theory is an important tool for struggles of social transformation, the editors assemble eight essays in two parts on such themes as African American philosophy, postcontinental reason, post-European sciences, questioning the human through black studies, slave pedagogy, double consciousness and political legitimacy, posthumanism, and discourses of freedom.

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  • Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Global Transformations: Anthropology and the Modern World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

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    Beginning with a critique of the “savage slot” in anthropology, this book interrogates the concepts by which anthropology, and by extension the human sciences, has constructed obstacles to be transcended for the benefit of better practices of human study.

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Race and Racism

Many of the works already included in this bibliography (e.g., Firmin 2000 (Anténor Firmin), Alcoff 2006 (Linda Martín Alcoff), and Gordon 1995 (Lewis Gordon) address race and racism in philosophical terms. Debates in the study of race have been primarily between racial eliminativists and racial conservationists, and discussions of racism tend to focus on its causes and elimination. Others explore the implications of race and racism for the study of philosophy. Appiah 1992 is the main exemplar of racial eliminativism in analytical philosophy. Daynes and Lee 2008 states that many eliminativists fail to appreciate the complexity of the social dimensions of race. Fluehr-Lobban 2006 presents a detailed history of race and racism in the social sciences, life sciences, and philosophy. Gilroy 2000 adds to racial eliminativist arguments a critique of genomic research, and Goldberg 1993 is an influential exemplar of the genealogical account of racist normativity. Monahan 2011 offers a philosophical study of race informed by Caribbean dynamics of creolization. Outlaw 1996 is one of the most influential conservationists in recent Africana thought, and Taylor 2004 offers a succinct introduction to philosophical debates on the study of race.

  • Appiah, K. Anthony. In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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    Chief exemplar of racial eliminiativism and one of the most influential texts in analytical philosophies of race. Argues that race lacks scientific justification and should be eliminated. Contends that Alexander Crummell and W. E. B. Du Bois were racists and that Pan-Africanism is a racist project because it links differing African ethnicities under the singular rubric of race.

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  • Daynes, Sarah, and Orville Lee. Desire for Race. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Racial difference has been conflated with physical difference, so some critics believe that the rejection of race must bring with it also the rejection of physical difference. The authors correctly point out the fallacy in this conclusion. The notion that social meaning must collapse into physical referents leads to a failure to understand how social meaning works as a formation of social reality.

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  • Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn. Race and Racism: An Introduction. Lanham, MD: AltaMira, 2006.

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    This book offers detailed discussions of race in biology and physical anthropology and the criticisms leading to the understanding of the persistence of racism and the culturally dynamic aspects of race.

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  • Gilroy, Paul. Against Race: Imagining Political Culture Beyond the Color Line. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2000.

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    A strong exemplar of racial eliminativism, this work argues that race thinking obstructs freedom and is thus linked to other forms of impediments to freedom such as colonialism and fascism. Freedom, Gilroy concludes, requires a future without race thinking.

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  • Goldberg, David Theo. Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1993.

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    One of the most influential genealogical accounts of racism, the text demonstrates the relationship between race and social subjectivity in modern life. Offering the notion of racisms, the author shows how racialized discourse is normalized throughout institutions, including categories in the contemporary social sciences.

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  • Monahan, Michael. The Creolizing Subject: Race, Reason, and the Politics of Purity. New York: Fordham University Press, 2011.

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    The author, second vice president of the CPA, contends that race and racism involve political practices of social purification in conflict with a social reality of mixture, especially creolization, where the mixtures create new social forms as seen in the lived presence of many genealogies in the lived-reality of Caribbean societies.

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  • Outlaw, Lucius T. On Race and Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 1996.

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    This is one of the most important recent books in Africana philosophy. It makes the case for Africana philosophy through an engagement with developments in postmodern, poststructural thought and the gathering possibilities of African, African American, and Afro-Caribbean thought. Moreover, the text defends the importance of racial survival of African Americans and the institutions developed by African Americans for that purpose.

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  • Taylor, Paul. Race: A Philosophical Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2004.

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    This book offers a summary of the various debates in philosophical treatments of race. It focuses on racial eliminativism (getting rid of race), racial preservation/conservatism (maintaining or defending race), racial constructivism, and a variety of approaches across the various philosophical divisions. A very useful aspect of this book is the history of race thinking it offers.

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Social and Political Philosophy

Social and political philosophy in the Caribbean context transforms traditional topics of legitimacy, justice, power, and rule with concerns of colonization, freedom, and liberation. There is also the question of conditions of political life in circumstances in which rule or governing supervenes. To some extent, most of the texts in this bibliography contribute to social and political philosophy. Boxill 1992 explores the ways in which racism affects discussions of social justice. Buck-Morss 2009 is a work in political theory, meta-political theory, and philosophy of history. Dussel 2005 explains the primacy of political philosophy in the Caribbean and Latin American context. Fischer 2004 examines the challenges to modernity, particularly its concomitant conceptions of freedom, raised by the Haitian Revolution. Gordon and Roberts 2009 is a collection that explores the possibility of creolizing political theory through discussions of the legacies from Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Persram 2007 is a collection of essays on postcolonial political theory drawing on resources from the Caribbean and Latin America. Pateman and Mills 2007 is a critical and imaginative exploration of social contract theory in contexts of race and colonization. Finally, Stephens 2005 examines the Caribbean through the resources of Caribbean political thinkers.

  • Boxill, Bernard. Blacks and Social Justice. Rev. ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1992.

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    A classic of analytical Africana political philosophy, much of this book is devoted to demonstrating the fallacies and negative outcome of color-blind policies and black conservatism on one hand and defending the relevance of social justice in struggles for liberation on the other.

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  • Buck-Morss, Susan. Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009.

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    Winner of the CPA’s Frantz Fanon 2011 Prize, this is a groundbreaking work on the relationship of philosophy to revolutionary violence. Exposes the erasure of the Haitian Revolution as a necessary act for the creation of modern Eurocentrism, explores a new version of universal history, and argues for the need to repudiate disciplinary boundaries.

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  • Dussel, Enrique. “Origen de la filosofía política moderna: Las Casas, Vitoria y Suarez (1514–1617).” Caribbean Studies 33.2 (2005): 35–80.

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    This essay demonstrates the influence of 16th-century Jesuit philosophers from the New World had on René Descartes’ thought. Instead of the direction of epistemology as first philosophy, thinkers such as Las Casas recognized the primacy of political philosophy and its concomitant philosophical anthropology and pedagogies of doubt in the interest of freedom.

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  • Fischer, Sibylle. Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

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    Winner of the CPA Fanon 2005 Prize, this book puts forward an innovative theory of modernity through analysis of the Haitian Revolution and the responses it engendered. Important for scholars of psychoanalysis, political theory, abolitionism, constitutionalism, and history.

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  • Gordon, Jane Anna, and Neil Roberts, eds. Special Issue: Creolizing Rousseau. The C.L.R. James Journal 15.1 (2009).

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    Among the topics discussed in this issue of the journal are conceptions of radical democracy in the Caribbean context, national consciousness versus nationalism, challenges to ideal and nonideal theory posed by creolization, the strengths and weaknesses of comparative political theory, multiculturalism versus creolization, and metapolitical theory.

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  • Pateman, Carole, and Charles Mills. Contract and Domination. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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    A critical meeting on social contract theory, where Pateman is circumspect about its potential and Mills more optimistic, this book explores the limits of liberal political thought and ideal theory under the weight of the history of exploitation, colonization, racism, and sexism in the modern world.

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  • Persram, Nalini, ed. Postcolonialism and Political Theory. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2007.

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    The chapters in this collection draw on insights from Caribbean and Latin American thought to expand the potential of postcolonial political theory.

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  • Stephens, Michelle. Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914–1962. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

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    Interrogates various intellectual constructions of transnational black communities via Caribbean intellectuals. Has sparked debate about the masculine nature of Caribbean visions and the appropriate institutional and disciplinary space for theorizing diaspora. Of importance for scholars of transnational thought, Pan-Africanism, interdisciplinary methodology, feminist theory, and performativity.

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Women of Color and Transnational Feminisms

The following selections argue that the methods and themes of transnational and women of color feminisms are essential for scholarship in the humanities and social sciences in the 21st century. Alexander and Mohanty 1997 argues that transnational and women of color feminisms are necessary for understanding neocolonialism, political economies, philosophy, gender politics, culture and society, and religion and spirituality, among other prominent topics. Lugones 2003 creatively engages multiple theoretical perspectives, particularly women of color feminisms, to critique many of the conservative and dominant ways through which language reinscribes unequal power relations. Alexander 2005 combines transnational feminism with a deep interest in pedagogy and spirituality, demonstrating the ways in which these areas are crucial for any serious reflection on decolonizing subjects and societies in the 21st century.

  • Alexander, M. Jacqui. Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

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    One of the most important works of transnational feminism, this text addresses how contemporary neoimperialism and neocolonialism affect feminist, queer, and critical race theories. Calls for North American feminism and queer studies to use transnational frameworks to approach questions of colonialism, racial formation, political economies, and heteronormativity. Alexander’s writing undertakes a woman of color feminist reading of spirituality, transgenerational memory, palimpsest time, and the sacred.

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  • Alexander, M. Jacqui, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, eds. Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures. New York: Routledge, 1997.

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    Provides feminist analyses of sexual and gender politics, economic and cultural marginality, and antiracist and anticolonial practices in the West and the Third World. This collection, by bringing together a variety of voices, provides a comparative, relational, and historically grounded conception of feminist praxis that differs from the multicultural understanding that shapes dominant versions of Euro-American feminism.

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  • Lugones, María. Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes: Theorizing Coalition Against Multiple Oppressions. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

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    These essays offer a firm critique of dominant ways of thinking of patriarchy, intersectionality, and the relationship between language and power. Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes also functions as an example of radical methodology whereby the reader follows the author through various journeys in order to grasp the concepts, situations, or points the author is illuminating.

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LAST MODIFIED: 10/28/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199766581-0024

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