Challenging the notion of theory as white and experience as black, Lewis Gordon here offers a philosophical portrait of the thought and life of the Martinican-turned-Algerian revolutionary psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon as an example of "living thought" against the legacies of colonialism and racism, and thereby shows the continued relevance and importance of his ideas.
Lewis Gordon presents the first detailed existential phenomenological investigation of antiblack racism as a form of Sartrean bad faith. Bad faith, the attitude in which human beings attempt to evade freedom and responsibility, is treated as a constant possibility of human existence. Antiblack racism, the attitude and practice that involve the construction of black people as fundamentally inferior and subhuman, is examined as an effort to evade the responsibilities of a human and humane world. Gordon argues that the concept of (...) bad faith militates against any human science that is built upon a theory of human nature and as such offers an analysis of antiblack racism that stands as a challenge to our ordinary assumptions of what it means to be human. (shrink)
As the first book to analyze the work of Fanon as an existential-phenomenological of human sciences and liberation philosopher, Gordon deploys Fanon's work to illuminate how the "bad faith" of European science and civilization have philosophically stymied the project of liberation. Fanon's body of work serves as a critique of European science and society, and shows the ways in which the project of "truth" is compromised by Eurocentric artificially narrowed scope of humanity--a circumstance to which he refers as the crisis (...) of European Man. In his examination of the roots of this crisis, Gordon explores the problems of historical salvation and the dynamics of oppression, the motivation behind contemporary European obstruction of the advancement of a racially just world, the forms of anonymity that pervade racist theorizing and contribute to "seen invisibility," and the reasons behind the impossibility of a nonviolent transition from colonialism and neocolonialism to post colonialism. (shrink)
The intellectual history of the last quarter of this century has been marked by the growing influence of Africana thought--an area of philosophy that focuses on issues raised by the struggle over ideas in African cultures and their hybrid forms in Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Existentia Africana is an engaging and highly readable introduction to the field of Africana philosophy and will help to define this rapidly growing field. Lewis R. Gordon clearly explains Africana existential thought to a (...) general audience, covering a wide range of both classic and contemporary thinkers--from Douglass and DuBois to Fanon, Davis and Zack. (shrink)
In this undergraduate textbook Lewis R. Gordon offers the first comprehensive treatment of Africana philosophy, beginning with the emergence of an Africana consciousness in the Afro-Arabic world of the Middle Ages. He argues that much of modern thought emerged out of early conflicts between Islam and Christianity that culminated in the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, and from the subsequent expansion of racism, enslavement, and colonialism which in their turn stimulated reflections on reason, liberation, and the meaning (...) of being human. His book takes the student reader on a journey from Africa through Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, and back to Africa, as he explores the challenges posed to our understanding of knowledge and freedom today, and the response to them which can be found within Africana philosophy. (shrink)
Her Majesty's Children reveals not only a deeply personal account of the experience of racism but is also a revolutionary work that asks us to reconsider our ordinary practices and lives to recognize and resist the traces of a colonial age of racism that so many claim is only part of our past.
The eminent scholar Lewis R. Gordon offers a probing meditation on freedom, justice, and decolonization. What is there to be understood and done when it is evident that the search for justice, which dominates social and political philosophy of the North, is an insufficient approach for the achievements of dignity, freedom, liberation, and revolution? Gordon takes the reader on a journey as he interrogates a trail from colonized philosophy to re-imagining liberation and revolution to critical challenges raised by Afropessimism, theodicy, (...) and looming catastrophe. He offers not forecast and foreclosure but instead an urgent call for dignifying and urgent acts of political commitment. Such movements take the form of examining what philosophy means in Africana philosophy, liberation in decolonial thought, the unshackling of political philosophy from the liberal moral theory setting the stage for the decolonization of justice and normative life, unleashing the obstacles to cultivating emancipatory politics, challenging reductionist forms of thought that proffer harm and suffering as conditions of political appearance and the valorization of nonhuman being. He asserts instead emancipatory considerations for occluded forms of life and the irreplaceability of existence in the face of catastrophe and ruin, and he concludes, through a discussion with the Circassian philosopher and decolonial theorist, Madina Tlostanova, with the project of shifting the geography of reason. (shrink)
This article explores five ways in which philosophy could be colonized: (1) racial and ethnic origins, (2) coloniality of its norms, (3) market commodification, (4) disciplinary decadence, (5) solipsism—and what the author calls a teleological suspension of philosophy as consideration among other practices of thought.
This article explores several philosophical questions raised by Rebecca Tuvel’s controversial article, “In Defense of Transracialism.” Drawing upon work on the concept of bad faith, including its form as “disciplinary decadence,” this discussion raises concerns of constructivity and its implications and differences in intersections of race and gender.
This article is a reflective essay, drawing upon insights on racism and related forms of oppression as expressions of bad faith, on several influential movements in contemporary philosophy of race and racism. The author pays particular attention to theories from the global south addressing contemporary debates ranging from Euromodernity, philosophical anthropology, and the racialization of First Nations or Amerindians to intersectionality theory, discourses on privilege, decolonization, and creolization.
What does it mean for philosophy to be ‘colonised’ and what are some of the challenges involved in ‘decolonising’ it in philosophical and political terms? After distinguishing between philosophy and its practice as a professional enterprise, I explore six ways in which philosophy, at least as understood in its Euromodern form, could be interpreted as colonised: (1) Eurocentrism and its asserted racial and ethnic origins/misrepresentations of philosophy's history, (2) coloniality of its norms, (3) market commodification of the discipline, (4) disciplinary (...) decadence, (5) solipsism, and (6) appeals to redemptive narratives of colonial practice. The remainder of the article examines conditions for decolonising philosophy, which include unlocking its potential as a liberatory practice, identifying its humanistic dimensions, rethinking metaphysical assumptions, and embracing political responsibility wrought from the production of knowledge. (shrink)
Originally delivered to mark the fiftieth anniversary of both Frantz Fanon’s death and the publication of his seminal discourse on decolonization, The Wretched of the Earth, these remarks seek to offer a preliminary outline of Fanon’s continuing relevance to the present. Conceptually spanning such touchstone elements of Fanon’s thought as sociogeny, race, violence, the human, and the relation between decolonial ethics and decolonial politics, the authors turn our attention to diagnosing the neoliberal face of contemporary coloniality/modernity and contributing to movements (...) from the Arab (or North African) Spring to the Occupy movement, from Philadelphia’s “flash mobs” to the new Latin American Left. (shrink)
This article is the keynote address of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados, philosophy symposium in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the British outlawing the Atlantic Slave Trade. The paper explores questions of enslavement and freedom through challenges of philosophical anthropology, philosophy of social change, and metacritical reflections posed by African Diasporic or Africana philosophy. Such challenges include the relevance and legitimacy of philosophical reflection to the lives of racialized slaves and concludes with a discussion (...) of the implications of the analysis for an understanding of the “face” of political life and the importance of the concept of “home” for a cogent theory of freedom. (shrink)
The first part of this memoriam essay focuses on the author’s relationship with the famed Bajan intellectual George Lamming during his years at Brown University. The second part explores Lamming’s most famous work, In the Castle of My Skin (1953), which offers important tropes in Black existential thought that are synchronous with Frantz Fanon’s Peau noir, masques blancs (1952), but with a more detailed exploration of the concept of political complicity through Lamming’s portrait of the phenomenon of slime and its (...) correlate, the slimy individual. The author also discusses Lamming’s treatment of the Fanonian motif of colonizing notions of normative development. (shrink)
This chapter examines race in film through exploring what the author calls “cinema beyond the veil.” This involves addressing several themes. The first is historical—namely, the story of racial portraits in film. The second is hermeneutical—that is, interpreting the portrayal of race in film. The third is philosophical—pertaining particularly to the aesthetic quality of film where race emerges. And the fifth is political—whether race can be in film without subordinating aesthetic aims to political imperatives. Conceptual tools rallied in the service (...) of this analysis include audiovisuality, allegory, monstrosity, political aesthetics, and potentiated double consciousness. (shrink)
This introduction outlines why the author assembled a community of scholars with the task not of commenting on Jane Anna Gordon’s work on creolizing political theory but instead placing it in dialogue with their own. The idea is that the value of theory depends also on the extent to which it could be engaged as a communicative practice with other theories dedicated to a shared concern. In this case, it is scholars committed to thought devoted to concerns of dignity, freedom, (...) and liberation as well as the critical question of the ultimate value of doing theoretical work. (shrink)
This volume presents timely commentaries on issues relating to Africa and Latin America, demonstrating the value of intercultural dialogue amongst voices from the Global South on decoloniality, cultural rights and politics.
The essays in Fanon and the Decolonization of Philosophy all trace different aspects of the mutually supporting histories of philosophical thought and colonial politics in order to suggest ways that we might decolonize our thinking. From psychology to education, to economic and legal structures, the contributors interrogate the interrelation of colonization and philosophy in order to articulate a Fanon-inspired vision of social justice. This project is endorsed by his daughter, Mireille Fanon-Mendès France, in the book's preface.
For the past 30 years, Paget Henry has been one of the most articulate and creative voices in Caribbean scholarship, making seminal contributions to the study of Caribbean political economy, C.L.R. James studies, critical theory, phenomenology, and Africana philosophy. This volume includes some of his most important essays from across his remarkable career, providing an introduction to a broad range of pressing contemporary themes and to the unique mind of one of the leading Caribbean intellectuals of his generation.
The scope of Philosophy in Multiple Voices provides the reader with eight philosophical streams of thought-African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Asian-American, Feminist, Latin-American, Lesbian, Native-American and Queer-that introduce readers to alternative, complex philosophical questions concerning gendered, sexed, racial and ethnic identities, canon formation, and meta-philosophy. The overriding theme of the text is that philosophy is pluralistic in voice, rich in diversity, and ought to valorize democratic intellectual spaces of philosophical engagement.
In Spoils of War, a diverse group of distinguished contributors suggest that acts of aggression resulting from the racism and sexism inherent in social institutions can be viewed as a sort of "war," experienced daily by women of color.
This review essay explores Josiah Young's project of developing a liberatory Pan-Africanism that is attuned to cultural diversity and Victor Anderson's advocacy of postmodern cultural criticism in African-American religious thought. After situating African-American religious thought as a branch of Africana thought, the author examines these two religious thinkers' work as an effort to forge a position on African-American religious thought--including its relation to theology--in an age where even theory is treated as a god that is about to die. At the (...) conclusion, secularism emerges as a religious project that normatively undergirds the methodological dimensions of these works. (shrink)
The social sciences were founded at the height of the Euromodern era when the belief in infinite expansion coexisted with the willingness to enclose, categorize, and lock up a large part of humanity. The invention of the social sciences was closely linked to this enterprise of disciplinarization of spaces and of populations which accompanied the expansion of capitalism and colonial conquest. Stigmatized, dominated, and colonized groups were constituted as objects by social scientists who considered themselves as pure subjects, and concealed (...) the conditions under which they undertook their research and prohibited the colonized from expressing their own subjectivity. Colonization also imposed a binary cartography of the world and a geography of reason with obligatory references and strict disciplinary divisions. There are many ways to decolonize knowledge, but they remain marginal in a world where white male supremacy is also epistemological. The rejection of disciplinary decadence implies not only a critical but a metacritical gesture, and the refusal of the imperative of objectivation and non-engagement. (shrink)