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Race and Philosophy Reading Group

Philosophy students and staff are warmly invited to join the Race and Philosophy Reading Group. We will meet on Teams on Friday afternoons, 4-5.15 pm, starting on 15 January 2021. The readings will address questions about race from a variety of perspectives. We will consider race as a focus for research in ontology, epistemology, phenomenology, existentialism, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics and the history of philosophy, and also as an important focus of concern for activism, education, and the practice of philosophy. We hope the readings will be jumping-off points for discussion of issues, events, experiences, and projects of significance to participants.

The group is intended to be a serious but friendly and supportive gathering. Please show respect for and courtesy toward participants. We would like to have volunteers each week to (1) give a very brief introduction to one of the readings, raising a topic or question for discussion, and (2) moderate the session (to keep track of who has a comment, to make sure people are heard, and so forth). We will ask for volunteers at the Week 1 meeting, but if you know you are interested in having one of those roles, please feel free to contact Eileen John on e-mail to volunteer (

RSVP to Eileen if you want to join the reading group Team.

Links to readings will be posted here. We are starting with two weeks of readings on differing views as to whether to affirm a category of 'race'.

Week 1

Michael O. Hardimon (2017). Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism. Harvard University Press.

Prologue and Introduction, pp. 1-11:


Naomi Zack (2003). ‘Philosophy and Racial Paradigms’, in A Companion to African-American Philosophy, eds. Tommy Lott and John Pittman. Wiley. pp. 239-53.

[Further reading: see a summary essay of Hardimon's position: Michael O. Hardimon (2017). Minimalist Biological Race, in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race, ed. Naomi Zack.]

Week 2 - revised - see also Team chat for further suggestions

Introducers: Luke Valentine Leong (Appiah and Goldberg) and Jude Folorunso (Alpert)

Kwame Anthony Appiah (1985). 'The Uncompleted Argument: Du Bois and the Illusion of Race', Critical Inquiry 12(1): 21-37.

David Theo Goldberg (1993). Chapters 4 and 5, 'The Masks of Race' and 'Racist Exclusions' in Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. Blackwell.


Avram Alpert, 'Philosophy's Systemic Racism'. Aeon, 24 September 2020.

[Further reading:

K. A. Appiah (2015). ‘Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections’, in Color Conscious, eds. K. Anthony Appiah and Amy Gutmann. Princeton UP, pp. 30–105.

Lucius T. Outlaw, Jr. (2018). 'On Race and Philosophy', in Racism and Philosophy, eds. Susan Babbitt and Sue Campbell (Cornell UP), pp. 50-76.

Also recommended: Outlaw's Preface (xi-xxxi - about his education) to On Race and Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 1996). This should be available electronically through the library very soon.]

Week 3 - Epistemology

Introducers: Judith Akua Arthur (Mills) and Nana Adwoa Obeng (Hill Collins)

Charles Mills (2018 [1988]). ‘Alternative Epistemologies’, in Blackness Visible Cornell UP, pp. 21-40.

Patricia Hill Collins (2000 [1990]). Ch. 11 'Black Feminist Epistemology', in Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Routledge. pp. 251-71.

[Further reading:

Kristie Dotson (2015), ‘Inheriting Patricia Hill Collins s Black Feminist Epistemology’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 38, Issue 13: 2322-2328.

Sandra Harding (2016 [1991]), Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?: Thinking from Women's Lives. Cornell UP. See especially sections II on Epistemology and III on ‘Others’ (Chs. 8 and 11).]

Provisional ideas for following weeks - to be decided on by the group

Week 4 - The practice of philosophy

Joseph Osei (2020). 'The Burden of Being a Black Philosopher in a White World: How to Respond to Anti-Black Racism', in Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference, ed. Elvis Imafidon. Springer.

Katrin Flikschuh (2018). 'Philosophical Racism', Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp. 91–110. [Flikschuh responds to a Charles Mills paper, Racial Justice, in same issue.]

Kristie Dotson (2012). 'HOW IS THIS PAPER PHILOSOPHY?', Comparative Philosophy: Vol. 3 : Iss. 1 , Article 5.

Week 5 - Reflection on figures in the history of philosophy - choosing, perhaps, chapters from edited collections such as the following:

Philosophers on Race: Critical Essays, eds. Tommy Lott and Julie Ward. Blackwell, 2002.

Race and Racism in Continental Philosophy, eds. Robert Bernasconi and Sybol Cook, Indiana UP, 2003.

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race, ed. Naomi Zack. Oxford UP, 2017.

See Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze's anthology of historical texts: Race and the Enlightenment: a Reader, Blackwell,1997. (Library: HT1507.R33).

Week 7 - Race and aesthetics: combined session with CineMAP

Sailee Khurjekar and Chris Earley are organising the readings and viewing.

Weeks 6, 8-10 - We will see what participants want to do. Some of the options: existentialist thinking; phenomenology; aesthetics; activism in philosophy; philosophy of education; media/forms/venues of philosophy.

Many possible authors and texts - please bring suggestions to the group!