ASRC 3027

ASRC 3027

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2023-2024.

W.E.B. DuBois declares, in "The Souls of Black Folk," "I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not," thereby making an absolute claim on modernity. Cornel West has long acknowledged his indebtedness to the work of American pragmatist philosophy. In fact, West's "The American Evasion of Philosophy" reflects how West situates himself within the long history of American pragmatism. Reading DuBois and West, this course will explore the ways in which the legacy of Enlightenment thinking manifests itself in the work of two of America's foremost black thinkers. The course explores the ways in which DuBois and West both take up the Enlightenment project (each in his own way, each on their own terms), integrate it into their thinking; but, always, in such a way as to make immanent the question -- the philosophical difficulty -- of race and racism. That is, what is it that the Enlightenment does not think? Why is it that the Enlightenment does not think race and racism? DuBois and West, it can be said, do not so much "complete" Enlightenment (a philosophical impossibility, in any case) as locate their work in the aporia -- that signal absence that is defining of the black American experience. That is, if DuBois proclaims himself free (and, fit, as it were) to "sit with [an unwincing] Shakespeare," why is it necessary -- in the first place -- for DuBois to make that assertion? In other words, what is DuBois speaking to? What glaring philosophical, epistemological and, indeed, phenomenological absence is DuBois addressing? An absence that West, in his inimitable ways, too finds it necessary to take up, engage, and critique.

When Offered Spring.

Distribution Category (HA-AS, HST-AS)

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Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 3 Credits Graded

  • 18265 ASRC 3027   SEM 101

    • TR Ives Hall 219
    • Jan 22 - May 7, 2024
    • Farred, G

  • Instruction Mode: In Person