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College of Arts and Sciences » Simpson Center for the Humanities

Charles W. Mills: Black Radical Kantianism (Colloquium)
Charles W. Mills: Black Radical Kantianism (Colloquium)
WhenThursday, May 17, 2018, 1:30 – 3 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSimpson Center for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Simpson Center presents this public colloquium in conjunction with Charles W. Mills’ Katz Distinguished Lecture, “Liberalism and Racial Justice” (7 pm, Wednesday, May 16, in Kane Hall 210, advance registration suggested). The colloquium is an opportunity for informal discussion and exchange. Participants are invited to read Mills’ essay “Black Radical Kantianism” [PDF] before the colloquium, although they are welcome to attend regardless.

Mills’ essay tries to develop a “black radical Kantianism”—that is, a Kantianism informed by the black experience in modernity. After looking briefly at socialist and feminist appropriations of Kant, Mills argues that an analogous black radical appropriation should draw on the distinctive social ontology and view of the state associated with the black radical tradition. In ethics, this would mean working with a (color-conscious rather than color-blind) social ontology of white persons and black sub-persons and then asking what respect for oneself and others would require under those circumstances. In political philosophy, it would mean framing the state as a Rassenstaat (a racial state) and then asking what measures of corrective justice would be necessary to bring about the ideal Rechtsstaat (state of law).

Charles W. Mills is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. He works in the general area of social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. In recent years he has focused on race. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as five books. His first book, The Racial Contract (1997), won a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in America. It has been adopted widely in hundreds of courses across the United States, not just in philosophy, but also in political science, sociology, anthropology, literature, African-American, American Studies, and other subjects. His second book, Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (1998), was a finalist for the award for the most important North American work in social philosophy of that year. His most recent book, Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Mills’ visit is part of “Capitalism and Comparative Racialization,” a 2017-2018 John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures.

Printed: Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 10:42 AM PDT