What to expect when you're expecting Africana philosophy part 2

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This coming Sunday (May 26, 2019) Chike and I will be launching part two of the series on Africana philosophy; the overview page for these episodes is already up and has general further reading suggestions. To whet your appetite here is our current thinking on what will be covered. Note that some topics/figures will probably get more than one episode (e.g. Douglass) and that this is a tentative list that may change as we go along. Also note that we do have interviews planned as usual, and some even recorded already, but these are not included on this list. Comments and suggestions welcome, as always!

Slavery and the Diaspora (Introduction)
Anton Wilhelm Amo
Early Africana Writing in English
Phillis Wheatley
Lemuel Haynes
Quobna Ottobah Cugoano
Richard Allen, Prince Hall, and Paul Cuffe
The Haitian Revolution
Baron de Vastey
The Controversy over the ACS
David Walker
Maria W. Stewart
Hosea Easton
Frederick Douglass
Henry Highland Garnet
Martin Delany
Sojourner Truth and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Mary Ann Shadd and Samuel Ringgold Ward
Alexander Crummell
Edward Blyden
James Africanus Beale Horton
Antenor Firmin
J.J. Thomas and Frederick Alexander Durham
Anna Julia Cooper
Ida B. Wells
Early African American Professional Philosophers
W.E.B. Du Bois

Alexander Johnson on 24 May 2019

A few questions:

A few questions:

1.  Is part 3 still planned for after part 2, or is that shelved for the time being?

2.  Is this still going to be comprehensible to someone unfamiliar with "modern philosophy" or "post Kant" philosphy, or will we need to do research outside of the podcast to get value from this?

3.  are you planning on covering philosophy as it relates to slavery and diaspera or is all types of philosophy to be covered? 

3a. If it is all types, how are you going to handle these thinkers when HOPWAG1 catches up?  Cover it again?  Just reference this series?  Leaving them segregated in their own section seems problematic

In reply to by Alexander Johnson

Peter Adamson on 25 May 2019

1. Part 3 is definitely still

1. Part 3 is definitely still on the agenda. We'll post the list of episodes for that when we get closer.

2. We will make sure that nothing is presupposed, by explaining context as needed.

3. All types; actually we touch on this question in tomorrow's first episode. But a lot of other issues will come up even if the slavery debate is mostly going to be at center stage.

3a. That is a really good question and one that I have done some fretting over already since it could lead to a discussion of, say, 19th c American thought where all the black authors are excised, having already been covered elsewhere. I think I would probably summarize it, e.g. by having one more new episode on slavery, while pointing listeners/readers back to this series for more detail. But in any case I won't get there for years so there is time to ponder this!

In reply to by Alexander Johnson

Chike Jeffers on 26 May 2019

Adding a bit to Peter's

Adding a bit to Peter's answer to question 3, all types of philosophical questions will come up but it is worth remembering what we said in the very first episode concerning what we will be treating as Africana philosophy. Simply being African or part of the African diaspora will not be sufficient for someone to merit inclusion in this 3-part series of episodes. A thinker's inclusion will signal, rather, that there is reason to think of at least some of that thinker's work as "distinctively Africana," and in the second and third parts of the series, what will generally end up providing the reason that a work counts as distinctively Africana is that it is shaped to some extent by concern with the experiences and situations of black people (not just slavery but that's certainly a prominent example!). It remains the case that all types of philosophical questions will come up, firstly, because concern with the black experience ends up raising an enormous variety of philosophical issues and, secondly, because it will sometimes be the case - indeed, as early as the second episode of Part Two, on Anton Wilhelm Amo - that a figure who can be viewed as meriting inclusion on the basis just mentioned will also have other work that is worth discussing, even if it is questionable whether to view that work as "distinctively Africana." Indeed, when there is work that it is questionable but not necessarily ludicrous to view that way, we will pursue the question! 

On question 3a, I know that this is a matter for Peter to ponder, not me, but I must say that I don't see it as such a big problem. The term "segregation" is most clearly indicative of something being problematic if there is reason to view one of the groups being segregated as being relegated to a position of inferiority, and it is of course important that these additional series (India, Africana, and then China and others yet to come) are not intended to be viewed as somehow subordinate to the original series. If we take someone like Frederick Douglass, who we will be covering in Part Two, quite likely with as many 3 episodes (e.g., 2 scripted + 1 interview), I'd like to think that if there had never been a separate Africana series that Peter would have still addressed his importance when he got to the 19th century in the original series. But is it likely that he would have been treated in the kind of depth in which he will be treated in our series? I'd say it's not unlikely, with all that there is to cover in Western philosophy in the 19th century, that he would have shown up as one among other thinkers in an episode on slavery (in other words, precisely the way he is likely to still show up in the tentative plan Peter mentions). Furthermore, I think it is not unlikely that a majority of the thinkers to whom we will dedicate whole episodes would not have even been so much as mentioned. I say all this not to convince you that we should be doing the series we're doing - you did not question that, although some have - but to make the point that the segregation, such as it is, redounds to the benefit of Africana philosophy in terms of the attention it gets. Given the possibility of regularly referring back to these episodes when the original series gets to the relevant timeframes and subject matters, thus addressing the concern that black philosophers could end up absent from the original series, I personally think there's little reason to worry about the way forward.       

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