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Alcoff, Linda Martin, , . Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self
2006, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Visible Identities critiques the critiques of identity and of identity politics and argues that identities are real but not necessarily a political problem. Moreover, the book explores the material infrastructure of gendered identity, the experimental aspects of racial subjectivity for both whites and non-whites, and in several chapters looks specifically at Latio identity.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Arisaka, Yoko, , . Paradox of Dignity: Everyday Racism and the Failure of Multiculturalism
2010, Ethik und Gesellschaft 2
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Yoko Arisaka

Abstract: Liberal multiculturalism was introduced to support integration and anti-racism, but everyday racism continues to be a fact of life. This paper analyzes first some frameworks and problems that race and racism raise, and discusses two common liberal approaches for solving the problem of racism: the individualized conception of dignity and the social conception of multiculturalism. I argue that the ontological and epistemological assumptions involved in both of these approaches, coupled with the absence of the political-progressive notion of «race» in Germany, in fact obscure important paths against racism. Lastly I introduce a politico-existential position from Cornel West and conclude that racism should be seen as a failure of a democratic process rather than a problem of race.

Comment: Offers a short review od the philosophy of race, the pitfalls of liberalism, why liberalism cannot solve racism, the situation in Germany

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Demetriou, Dan, , Wingo, Ajume. The Ethics of Racist Monuments
, In David Boonin (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Palgrave .
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Dan Demetriou

Abstract: In this chapter we focus on the debate over publicly-maintained racist monuments as it manifests in the mid-2010s Anglosphere, primarily in the US (chiefly regarding the over 700 monuments devoted to the Confederacy), but to some degree also in Britain and Commonwealth countries, especially South Africa (chiefly regarding monuments devoted to figures and events associated with colonialism and apartheid). After pointing to some representative examples of racist monuments, we discuss ways a monument can be thought racist, and neutrally categorize removalist and preservationist arguments heard in the monument debate. We suggest that both extremist and moderate removalist goals are likely to be self-defeating, and that when concerns of civic sustainability are put on moral par with those of fairness and justice, something like a Mandela-era preservationist policy is best: one which removes the most offensive of the minor racist monuments, but which focuses on closing the monumentary gap between peoples and reframing existing racist monuments.

Comment: Frames debates about racist monuments (e.g., Confederate or colonialist monuments), categorizes arguments for and against removal. Suitable for an intro-level course.

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Guenther, Lisa, , . Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives
2013, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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Abstract: Prolonged solitary confinement has become a widespread and standard practice in U.S. prisons – even though it consistently drives healthy prisoners insane, makes the mentally ill sicker, and, according to the testimony of prisoners, threatens to reduce life to a living death. In this profoundly important and original book, Lisa Guenther examines the death-in-life experience of solitary confinement in America from the early nineteenth century to today’s supermax prisons. Documenting how solitary confinement undermines prisoners’ sense of identity and their ability to understand the world, Guenther demonstrates the real effects of forcibly isolating a person for weeks, months, or years. -/- Drawing on the testimony of prisoners and the work of philosophers and social activists from Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to Frantz Fanon and Angela Davis, the author defines solitary confinement as a kind of social death. It argues that isolation exposes the relational structure of being by showing what happens when that structure is abused – when prisoners are deprived of the concrete relations with others on which our existence as sense-making creatures depends. Solitary confinement is beyond a form of racial or political violence; it is an assault on being.

Comment: This text serves as both a clear introduction to the history of punishment and imprisonment in the United States, as well as a clear introduction to phenomenological method. Portions of the text on the experience of social death in solitary confinement would make excellent additions to introductory courses on prisons and punishment. Some chapters would also be fitting on classes concerning race and mass incarceration.

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Nzegwu, Nkiru, , . African Art in Deep Time: De‐race‐ing Aesthetics and De‐racializing Visual Art
2019, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (4): 367-378.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: In two essays in the ART/Artifact(1988) exhibition catalog, white American museum curator Susan Vogel and white American philosopher Arthur Danto pronounce that Africans do not distinguish between art and nonart. Although seemingly objective empirical statements, their assertions about Africa and its art are racially based ruminations of a white supremacist worldview. I argue that in theorizing within the category of race they produced racialized aesthetics that commit the Eurocentric fallacy of upholding systemic racist objectives. I argue that (1) their assertions fail to be about African art, but about hegemony and power; (2) as the longest enduring artistic activity of humanity, African art is an important check to racialized aesthetics; (3) art is produced outside the category of race and from a critically conscious awareness of the world; and (4) art bespeaks creativity and presupposes the artistic and moral values of a culture in the manipulation and transformation of physical reality.

Comment: Written in an engaging way, this paper invites the reader to re-evaluate some common assumptions about art from different cultures. Exposing the prevalent Western approach to African art as racialised, it can be a great tool in making students understand both the structural-societal, as well as own biases in approaching other cultures. Ngzewu defends a powerful thesis: that ‘the West’s conception of art and creativity presupposes white racial hegemony.’ She exposes the way in which Western art is tacitly assumed to be a yardstick against which all is measured, and the Westerners have become the ‘purveyors of knowledge’ who apply this yardstick to decide whether works of other cultures are art, all without any need to consult the creators of those works, or to revise own concept of art. As such, the paper can be very empowering to some students, while also being very uncomfortable to others – teaching it might require some skill in leading the discussion in a constructive way. The import of Ngzewu’s argumentis that while racism and white domination rest on the assumption of cognitive and moral superiority of white people, the approach to African art she criticises serves to reinforce this assumption. This can inspire further class discussion on the importance and value of aesthetics. Best used before assigning other texts on non-Western art, which should all be read in light of Ngzewu’s criticism.

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Sullivan, Shannon, Nancy Tuana (eds), . Race and the Epistemologies of Ignorance
2007, State University of New York Press
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Yoko Arisaka

Publisher’s Note: Offering a wide variety of philosophical approaches to the neglected philosophical problem of ignorance, this groundbreaking collection builds on Charles Mills’s claim that racism involves an inverted epistemology, an epistemology of ignorance. Contributors explore how different forms of ignorance linked to race are produced and sustained and what role they play in promoting racism and white privilege. They argue that the ignorance that underpins racism is not a simple gap in knowledge, the accidental result of an epistemological oversight. In the case of racial oppression, ignorance often is actively produced for purposes of domination and exploitation. But as these essays demonstrate, ignorance is not simply a tool of oppression wielded by the powerful. It can also be a strategy for survival, an important tool for people of color to wield against white privilege and white supremacy. The book concludes that understanding ignorance and the politics of such ignorance should be a key element of epistemological and social/political analyses, for it has the potential to reveal the role of power in the construction of what is known and provide a lens for the political values at work in knowledge practices.

“This anthology brings together some very prominent philosophers to address one of the most embarrassing and blatantly ignored elephants in philosophy: ignorance. While philosophers claim to be children of Socrates, who alone was virtuous and courageous enough to recognize the fecundity of ignorance, few have really addressed it with the verve and originality displayed in the contributions to this volume. I consider it a must-have for libraries, faculty, and graduate students.” — Eduardo Mendieta, editor of The Frankfurt School on Religion: Key Writings by the Major Thinkers

Contributors include Linda Martín Alcoff, Alison Bailey, Robert Bernasconi, Lorraine Code, Harvey Cormier, Stephanie Malia Fullerton, Sarah Lucia Hoagland, Frank Margonis, Charles W. Mills, Lucius T. Outlaw (Jr.), Elizabeth V. Spelman, Shannon Sullivan, Paul C. Taylor, and Nancy Tuana.

Comment: Different chapters can be used as a reading material on situated epistemology, philosophy of race, production of knowledge

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Thomas, Angie, , . The Hate U Give
2017, HarperCollins Publishers.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Nadia Mehdi

Summary: The Hate U Give is a young adult novel by Angie Thomas. It follows events in the life of a black 16-year-old girl, Starr Carter, who is drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend.

Comment: This book could be easily paired with a number of papers in the philosophy of race and racism including Charlies Mills’ ‘White Ignorance’, or Kristie Dotson’s ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing’. Concepts that are perhaps trickier for younger philosophers to wrap their heads around are elaborated in the film and book version of this piece.

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