PHIL 539: Critical Philosophy of Race

Posted in Course Offerings, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2013-04-02 17:30Z by Steven

PHIL 539: Critical Philosophy of Race

Pennsylvania State University
Summer 2012

The study of philosophical issues raised by racism and by the concept of race and other related concepts.

This course provides an intensive examination of a major area of philosophical research: the philosophical examination of racism and of our thinking about race. It will investigate philosophical debates about such topics as mixed-race identity, going beyond the Black-White binary, the distinction between racism and xenophobia, the distinction between race and ethnicity, the debate about the reality of race, as well as questions about the nature and genealogy of racism. The course will have a historical component that will show how thinking in terms of the concept of race first developed and was transformed across time as well as addressing contemporary issues that includes an examination both of the dominant theories and definitions or racial identity and of ethical and political questions raised by the persistence of the notion of race. The course will also examine debates about the complicity of certain canonical figures in the history of philosophy, such as Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in the conceptualization of race and the spread of philosophical racism. In addition to these two philosophers the following authors will be among those studied: Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Frederick Douglass, AntĂ©nor Firmin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Alain Locke, Paulette Nardal, Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Anthony Kwame Appiah, Gloria AnzaldĂșa, Bernard Boxill, and Angela Davis. Race will be examined in its relation to other ways of thinking about human difference, including class, gender, nationality, religion, and sexuality. Attention will be given to diverse experiences in the US context, such as those of African Americans, Latina/os, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Irish Americans, and so on. In addition to examining the role race has played and continues to play in the United States of America, the ways in which race is approached in other parts of the world, for example in China, will also be the subject of investigation. The course content will vary, dependent upon the instructor.

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