PHIL/AFAM 274H.001 – African-American Political Philosophy

Text:
Increase font size
Decrease font size

Instructor: Bernard Boxill. This course meets MW 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. in CW 103.

The object of the course is to introduce students to some of the moral issues in the intellectual and philosophical efforts of African Americans to understand and to morally and appropriately respond to their enslavement and oppression in the U.S. To this end we will study the historically most representative and influential African American political writers; most prominently Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, Booker T.Washington, and W.E.B. DuBois. Supplementing our study of these authors will be readings from the works of contemporary African American philosophers such as Charles Mills, Anthony Appiah, Jorge Garcia, Lucius Outlaw, and others. Prominent topics will be: What is slavery and was it really so opposed to the liberal and republican ideals America was allegedly founded on? What is liberalism and republicanism anyway?  Was America founded on other philosophies as well? What did the Founding Fathers really say? What is freedom and why is it so valuable? What is race? Is race natural or are races invented? If they were invented who invented them and for what purpose or purposes were they invented? What is racism? Is it mainly a matter of having evil passions or is it based on or always includes false beliefs of the racial inferiority of some races? Is equal opportunity enough or does the nation also owe reparations to black Americans? Is Affirmative Action also both necessary and morally justifiable? What is self-respect and why is it so important?