About this conference

Click here to join the conference via Zoom.

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

This 2-day conference looks back in paying tribute both to the historic pathbreakers of the past and the still living pioneers of the present who—under the most difficult and unfavorable conditions—were eventually able, after decades of struggle both within and outside the academy, to get Africana Philosophy and Critical Philosophy of Race recognized as legitimate areas of philosophical exploration and inquiry. But it also looks forward—given this historic experience of racial oppression—to exploring the contribution Africana thinkers can make to the understanding of our present national crisis, and to developing suggestions for how best to resolve it.

Click here to Register and for access to the Zoom link. Free and open to the public. This event will also be livestreamed via Facebook Live, which you can watch here.


Friday, March 19th


10AM-1:00PM: Panel 1: What Is Africana Philosophy?

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

    Howard McGary (Emeritus, Philosophy, Rutgers University): “African American Philosophy: A Retrospective”

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

    John H. McClendon III (Philosophy, Michigan State University): “The Recovery and Reconstruction of Pioneering Conceptions in Africana Philosophy: From the Standpoint of Dialectical Materialism”

    Discussion moderated by Charles Mills.

    2:00-4:00PM: Panel 2: Inferiority, Racism, and Justice

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

    Bernard Boxill (Emeritus, Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): “Should African American Philosophers Be More Interested in Corrective Justice than in Distributive Justice?”

    Discussion moderated by Juan Battle.

      4:30-6:30PM: Panel 3: Black Lives, Gender, and the Black Aesthetic

      Kathryn Sophia Belle (Philosophy & African American Studies, Pennsylvania State University): "Audre Lorde’s Conceptualizations of Care”

      Joy James (Humanities, Williams College): “'A Republic, if You Can Keep It’: Captive Maternals Leverage Democracy"

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

      Discussion moderated by Sergio Armando Gallegos Ordorica.

      Saturday, March 20th

      10AM-12:00PM: Panel 4: Black Radical Kantianism, White Supremacy, and Herrenvolk Democracy

      Frank Kirkland (Philosophy, Hunter College & The Graduate Center, CUNY): “Kantian Thoughts, Du Boisian Proposals, and Hegelian Reflections on Contractually Liberal and Contractually Racial Dispositions”

      Robert Gooding-Williams (Philosophy, and African American and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia University): “The Moral Psychology of White Supremacy and the Theory of Democratic Despotism”

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

      Discussion moderated by Herman Bennett.

      12:30-2:30PM: Panel 5: African and Afro-Caribbean Philosophy

      Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French & Philosophy, African Studies, Columbia University): “A Humanism and a Politics of Ubuntu and Nite

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

      Discussion moderated by Gary Wilder.

      3:00-5:00PM: Panel 6: Reconstructions I, II—and III?

      John Pittman (Philosophy, John Jay College, CUNY): “Du Bois on Race and Reconstruction”

      Paget Henry (Sociology and Africana Studies, Brown University): “Africana Philosophy and the Possibility of a Third Reconstruction”

      Discussion moderated by Linda Alcoff.

        5:30-7:00PM: KEYNOTE ADDRESS

        Lucius Outlaw (Philosophy & African American and Diaspora Studies, Vanderbilt University): “Black Lives and Existence: Misadventures in Academic Philosophy”

        Discussion moderated by Charles Mills.

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

          Organized by Charles W. Mills and Linda Martín Alcoff. Congrats to Professors Alcoff and Mills, recently named two of the most influential philosophers in the world today by Academic Influence. Click here to read more.

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