Hortense Spillers is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor at Vanderbilt University. A scholar of the African diaspora, Spillers is known for her essays on African-American literature in Black, White, and In Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2003 and Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern Text, published by Routledge in 1991. Spillers received her B.A and M.A. from University of Memphis and her Ph.D in English at Brandeis University. While at the University of Memphis, she was a disk jockey for the black radio station WDIA. She has held positions at Haverford College, Wellesley College, Emory University, and Cornell University. Spillers’ 1987 scholarly article “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book”, is one of the most cited essays in African-American literary studies. The essay brings together African-American studies, feminist theory, semiotics, and cultural studies to articulate a theory of African-American female gender construction. Spillers is concerned with the alleged problem of matriarchal family structure in black communities. However, rather than accepting the wisdom of the Moynihan Report (which established the trope of the absent black father), Spillers makes two moves—one historical and the other political. First, she argues that the absent father in African American history is the white slave master, since legally the child followed the condition of the mother. Thus, the enslaved mother was always positioned as a father, as the one from whom children inherited their names and social status. Similarly, black men and women were both positioned as “vulnerable, supine bod[ies]” capable of being “invaded/raided” by a woman or man (77)—that is as “ungendered” (68) and separated from its own “active desire” (68). After suggesting that this lineage removes African Americans from patriarchal gender and places them outside of family, she concludes by suggesting that men and women descended from this situation might be well positioned to overturn patriarchy, not by joining the ranks of normative gender but by operating from the androgynous “boundary” (74) where they have been placed—that is, by black men's saying “‘yes’ to the ‘female’ within” and by black women “claiming the monstrosity of a female with the power to name” (80). Spillers was the 2017 recipient of the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Nicolás Guillén Lifetime Achievement Award for her groundbreaking work in philosophical literary theory, whose influence spans the course of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. According to the Awards Committee’s report: “Professor Spillers remains our companion in profession and in thought, at once our fellow traveller in the most mundane orders of living and our guide to, in, and among, the stars, for as she is equally inimitable in her comportment and resolute in her commitment to the terms of accomplishment, hers is a gift of thought of the highest order, of possibility. We may thus turn and return – to the mundane, in intramural communion, to the task of thinking together with her black thought of ‘race,’ of ‘the problem of the color line,’ and of ‘revolution,’ of a re-engendering of what it means to be a Black woman, of world.” For more information, please click here.
Eduardo Mendieta was born in Colombia, but grew up in the United States. He studied at Rutgers, Union Theological Seminary, the New School for Social Research, and the Goethe University in Frankfurt. His research interest include: Frankfurt School Critical Theory, especially the work of Karl-Otto Apel, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Rainer Forst; Latin American philosophy, Liberation Philosophy, and the work of Enrique Dussel—which he has translated—and Latino/a Philosophy. He has done work on and with Angela Y. Davis, whom he considers to be part of the Critical Theory traditions, given that her philosophical education took place at the Goethe University, and Brown University, under the mentorship of Herbert Marcuse. He has also been doing research on Latin American urbanism. He recently finished a monograph titled The Philosophical Animal: On Zoopoetics and Interspecies Cosmopolitanism, which is forthcoming with SUNY Press, as well as a Spanish edition, with an extended introduction, to work by Angela Y. Davis on penality and prison abolition. He is already at work on what he considers to be a prequel to his animal book, tentatively entitled, Philosophy’s War: Nomos, Polemos, Topos. Most immediately, however, he is editing his essays on the critical philosophy of race and will gather them under the title of Technologies of the Racist Self. He is also editing a couple of anthologies on the history of Latin American philosophy and its most recent developments. Once these books are out, he would like to pursue two other projects. One has to do with Latin American cities, which takes up work on megaurbanization, megaslums, and the Anthropocene he has done over the last couple of years. The second project, which is tentatively titled Philosophy’s Workshop, has to do with what he has called philosophy’s paralipomena. The aim is to study, profile, and unearth the many ways in which philosophy is produced, crafted, thought, written, communicated, and confessed: letters, dialogues, voice, diaries/autobiographies, translations, lectures, and the philosopher’s body (female, male, racialized, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, disabled, ugly, etc). The aim is to develop a genealogy of the production of philosophy that is attentive to its material spaces of production. His guiding philosophical idea is that philosophy takes place in and through bodies that are always located in unique institutional spaces, which affect its imaginary. Mendieta was the 2017 recipient of the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Frantz Fanon Outstanding Achievements Award is for a young senior scholar or public intellectual of high repute and global impact whose contributions to areas of thought and institutional development are in the spirit of Frantz Fanon’s revolutionary humanism. For more information, please click here.
Jeremy Glick is Associate Professor of African Diasporic Literature and Modern Drama at Hunter College of the City University of New York. His 2016 The Black Radical Tragic: Performance, Aesthetics, and the Unfinished Haitian Revolution, published by NYU Press, 2016 was awarded the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s 2017 The Nicolás Guillén Award for Outstanding Book in Philosophical Literature. The book examines twentieth-century performances engaging the Haitian Revolution as laboratories for political thinking. As the first successful revolution emanating from a slave rebellion, the Haitian Revolution remains an inspired site of investigation for a remarkable range of artists and activist-intellectuals in the African Diaspora. Glick asks readers to consider the revolution less a fixed event than an ongoing and open-ended history resonating across the work of Atlantic world intellectuals. He argues that these writers use the Haitian Revolution as a watershed to chart their own radical political paths, animating, enriching, and framing their artistic and scholarly projects. Spanning the disciplines of literature, philosophy, and political thought, The Black Radical Tragic explores work from Lorraine Hansberry, Sergei Eisenstein, Edouard Glissant, Malcolm X, and others, ultimately enacting a speculative encounter between Bertolt Brecht and C.L.R. James to reconsider the relationship between tragedy and revolution. In its grand refusal to forget, The Black Radical Tragic demonstrates how the Haitian Revolution has influenced the ideas of freedom and self-determination that have propelled Black radical struggles throughout the modern era. Glick is currently working on long-form essays on Frantz Fanon, Sam Greenlee's Black Power Detective Fiction, and Century-Methodological Approaches to African American Literature. His second book project is entitled Coriolanus Against Liberalism/ Coriolanus & Pan-Africanist Loss. He is also the Hunter College Chapter Chair of the PSC-CUNY Union. For more information, please click here.
Lewis R. Gordon studied for his doctorate at Yale University, where he met his graduate mentor, the great Maurice Natanson, a phenomenologist and existentialist who was also a child of Yiddish theater in Brooklyn, New York, and whose mentor was Alfred Schutz, the great Austrian Jewish phenomenologist of the social sciences. Gordon’s research in philosophy is in Africana philosophy, philosophy of existence, phenomenology, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of science. While he has written on problems of method and disciplinary formation in the human sciences, Gordon has more recently devoted attention to problems in philosophy of physics, especially through a series of ongoing discussions and research projects with Stephon Alexander, who teaches physics at Brown University. In addition to theories of social transformation, decolonization, and liberation, Gordon’s research in social and political philosophy also addresses problems of justice and its normative scope. As a public intellectual, Gordon has written for a variety of political forums, newspapers, and magazines such as truthout (on which he now serves as a member of the Board of Directors), the Pambazuka News, the Johannesburg Salon, and The Mail & Guardian, has lectured across the globe, and co-founded book series, journals and organizations, including, with Paget Henry, the past Routledge series Africana Thought and, with Jane Anna Gordon, the Rowman & Littlefield International series Global Critical Caribbean Thought, the journal Radical Philosophy Review and the Caribbean Philosophical Association, of which he was the first president (2003 to 2008). He holds the Visiting Chair in Europhilosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Toulouse University. For more information, please click here.
Paget Henry is Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Brown University. Founder and editor of The C. L. R. James Journal, Henry is also an external examiner for the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana. Henry has presented papers in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa and organized several major international conferences on such topics as C.L.R. James’s Years in the U.S. and on Democracy and Development in the Caribbean. In 2003, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education recognized him as 26th of the 30 most quoted black scholars in the humanities. Henry is the co-editor (with Paul Buhle) of C. L. R. James’s Caribbean (Duke University Press, 1992) and author of Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua (Transaction Books, 1985), Caliban’s Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy (Routledge, 2000) which received the 2003 Frantz Fanon Award of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, and Shouldering Antigua and Barbuda: The Life of V.C. Bird (Hansib, 2010). He is currently completing a book tentatively entitled, Further Studies in Caliban’s Reason: Africana Phenomenology and Political Economy. For more information, click here.
Jane Anna Gordon is Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Associate Professor in Political Science at UCONN. Her first book, Why They Couldn’t Wait: A Critique of the Black-Jewish Conflict over Community Control in Ocean Hill-Brownsville , was listed by the Gotham Gazette as one of the four best recent books on civil rights. She is co-editor with Lewis R. Gordon of Not Only the Master’s Tools and of The Companion to African American Studies, which was the NetLibrary Book of the Month in February 2007. She is also the co-author of Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age and author of Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau through Fanon. Her recent essay, “Theorizing Contemporary Practices of Enslavement: A Portrait of the Old and New,” won the American Political Science Association 2012 Foundations in Political Theory Best Paper Prize. She is currently completing two book projects, The Politics of Richard Wright: Perspectives on Resistance (University Press of Kentucky, 2018), which she co-edited with Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh and Statelessness and Contemporary Enslavement. She is Former President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association (2013-2016). For more information, please click here.
Michael Monahan joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis in 2017. Prior to that, he taught at Marquette University (2003-2017). He is a founding member of the Phenomenology Roundtable, and is past Vice-President (2009-2013) and current Treasurer of the Caribbean Philosophical Association. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois and earned his undergraduate degree at Purdue University. His primary philosophical interests are in questions of oppression and liberation, with a particular emphasis on race and racism. He draws primarily on Africana and phenomenological texts and traditions in his work. He has taught courses in Africana Philosophy, Philosophy of Race, Political Philosophy, Ethics, Feminist Philosophy, Hegel, and Nietzsche. His current work investigates the uses and abuses of theories of “recognition” in the context of racial oppression and liberation. His book, The Creolizing Subject: Race, Reason, and the Politics of Purity, published by Fordham University Press in 2011, offers a challenge to the contemporary discourse on the nature of race and racism, beginning with a re-reading of the history of 17th century Barbados and pointing ultimately toward a paradigm of liberation beyond “the politics of purity.” In 2017 he published Creolizing Hegel for the Creolizing the Canon series at Rowman and Littlefield International. Dr. Monahan attended the first meeting of the Caribbean Philosophical Association in 2004 in Barbados and has not missed a meeting since. He has also been studying martial arts for 22 years, and teaches them as well. For more information, please click here.
Brian Kwoba is Assistant Professor in History at University of Memphis. His research interests include African-American political thought, social movements, and the politics of race, class, and gender across the African diaspora. He is the author of “Hubert Harrison: Black Griot of the Harlem Renaissance” for Black Perspectives, the African American Intellectual History Society blog and the forthcoming journal article, “Teacher and Disciple: Hubert Harrison and the Garvey Movement.” He is currently revising his doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript about Hubert Harrison and the New Negro Movement and co-editing an anthology for Zed Books tentatively entitled Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford! Voices from the Movement to Decolonize Education In Britain and Beyond. For more information, please click here.
Andrew Daily is Assistant Professor of Modern French and Global History at University of Memphis. He is author of “‘It is Too Early... or Too Late:’ Frantz Fanon's Legacy in the French Caribbean” in Karib: The Nordic Journal of Caribbean Studies and “Race, Citizenship, and Antillean Student Activism in Postwar France, 1946-1968” in French Historical Studies. He is currently working on a monograph entitled After Négritude: The Cultural Politics of Place in Postcolonial France and the Caribbean which draws on research conducted in France and the Caribbean to rethink histories of decolonization as well the cultural and intellectual history of modern Europe. In partnership with Emily Sahakian, he is working on a translation and performance project, History From an Abyss: Histoire de Nègre. For it, he is translating from French and Creole into English, editing, and annotating the play, Histoire de nègre, which was collaboratively composed and performed around Martinique in 1971-2. The play uses avant-garde techniques and mise-en-scène to capture “three moments” of Martinique’s colonial history and to educate Martinicans about their place in the wider American experience. For more information, please click here.
Sharon Stanley teaches Political Science at University of Memphis. Her broad research interests focus on modern and contemporary political thought, with two separate emphases: the Enlightenment, its critics, and its contested legacy, and the politics of racial justice in the United States and throughout the Americas. Her first book, The French Enlightenment and the Emergence of Modern Cynicism (Cambridge University Press, 2012), traces the relationship between cynicism and enlightenment in eighteenth-century French thought. Her second book, An Impossible Dream? Racial Integration in the United States was published in March 2017 with Oxford University Press and engages critically with conceptions of racial integration in contemporary political, philosophical, and legal discourse. She was awarded the Early Career Research Award in 2012, a Dunavant Professorship in 2014, and a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016. She teaches classes in modern and contemporary political thought, American political thought, feminist political thought, race and politics in the United States, and constitutional law. For more information, please click here.