Race and Racism

29. Out of Africa: Slavery and the Diaspora

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An introduction to Africana philosophical thought as it emerged from the modern experience of slavery and colonization by Europeans.

31. Justin Smith on Amo and Race in Early Modern Philosophy

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Justin E.H. Smith joins us to discuss Anton Wilhelm Amo against the background of ideas about race in early modern philosophy, including Leibniz.

32. Talking Book: Early Africana Writing in English

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Eighteenth century black authors touch on philosophical themes in autobiographical narratives, poetry, and other literary genres.

33. Young, Gifted, and Black: Phillis Wheatley

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Phillis Wheatley astonishes colonial Americans with her exquisite and precocious poetry and reflects on the liberating power of the imagination.

34. New England Patriot: Lemuel Haynes

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Preacher and Revolutionary War soldier Lemuel Haynes argues that the principles of the American Revolution demand the abolition of slavery.

35. Letters from the Heart: Ignatius Sancho and Benjamin Banneker

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Ignatius Sancho and Benjamin Banneker make their mark on the history of Africana thought through letters that reflect on the power of sentiment.

36. Sons of Africa: Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano

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Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano advance the goals of the abolitionist movement through a groundbreaking political treatise and an influential autobiography.

37. Liberty, Equality, Humanity: The Haitian Revolution

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In an age of revolutions and revolutionary ideas, the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 stands out as the most radical of them all.

38. My Haitian Pen: Baron de Vastey

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The Baron de Vastey unveils the horror of colonialism as a system and defends the monarchy of King Christophe in the tense early years of Haiti’s independence.

Note: this episode repeats some of Vastey's vivid descriptions of violence against slaves, so please think twice before listening to it around kids for example.

39. Doris Garraway on the Haitian Revolution

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An interview with Doris Garraway on the background, intellectual basis, and legacy of the Haitian Revolution.

40. American Africans: Early Black Institutions in the US

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Building black institutions in early American history, with Prince Hall and the Masons in Boston, and Richard Allen and the Methodists in Philadelphia.

41. Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Colonization Controversy

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Questions of political autonomy and group identity in the emigration movement led by Paul Cuffe, Daniel Coker, John Russwurm and others.

42. James Sidbury on African Identity

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An interview with James Sidbury about the emergence of a self-conscious African identity in the diaspora.

43. Kill or Be Killed: David Walker’s Appeal

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David Walker defends violent resistance in his incendiary and influential Appeal.

44. Religion and Pure Principles: Maria W. Stewart

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Maria W. Stewart’s public addresses bring the concerns of African American women into the struggle against racial prejudice.

45. Unnatural Causes: Hosea Easton’s Treatise

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Hosea Easton’s Treatise provides an overlooked but fascinating theory of race and racism.

46. Melvin Rogers on Early 19th Century Political Thought

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Melvin Rogers joins us to discuss David Walker, Maria Stewart, and Hosea Easton.

47. Written by Himself: the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass' journey from slave to leading figure of 19th century American thought.

50. Nation Within a Nation: Martin Delany

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He is called a “father of black nationalism,” but Martin Delany also promoted integration in American society. Can the apparent tension be resolved?

52. Great White North: Emigration to Canada

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Mary Ann Shadd and Samuel Ringgold Ward reflect on what Canada can offer African Americans, differing on the problem of racism.

53. Pilgrim’s Progress: Alexander Crummell

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From his time in Liberia to his later concentration on the reform of African American culture, Alexander Crummell identifies progressive “civilization” as a means of liberation.

54. Wilson Moses on the Roots of Black Nationalism

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Wilson Moses speaks to us about his research into early black nationalism, with reference to Crummell, Douglass, and others.

55. Planting the Seeds: James Africanus Beale Horton

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Africanus Horton looks toward a future of self-government for West Africa beyond slavery and colonialism.

56. African Personality: Edward Blyden

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Edward Blyden gains appreciation for Islam in West Africa and gradually moves from political nationalism to cultural nationalism.

57. Race First, Then Party: T. Thomas Fortune

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T. Thomas Fortune uses newspaper editorials to put forth a theory of civil rights and sets out a plan of political action for protecting them.

58. A Common Circle: Anténor Firmin

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Haitian anthropologist Anténor Firmin debunks racist pseudo-science and argues that inequalities among humans are caused by social, not biological, factors.

59. Frowning at Froudacious Fabrications: J.J. Thomas and F.A. Durham

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John Jacob Thomas argues for self-government in the English colonies of the Caribbean but his fellow Trinidadian Frederick Alexander Durham recommends repatriation to Africa instead.

60. Though Late, It Is Liberty: Abolitionism in Brazil

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Abolitionists Luiz Gama and Joaquim Nabuco, and the great novelist Machado de Assis, react to the injustices of slaveholding in Brazil.

61. When and Where I Enter: Anna Julia Cooper

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Anna Julia Cooper’s A Voice from the South, an unprecedented contribution to black feminist theory.

62. American Barbarism: Ida B. Wells

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Ida B. Wells, her tireless crusade against lynching, and her analysis of the underlying purpose of racial violence

63. Brittney Cooper on Black Women Activists

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Brittney Cooper on activists connected to the National Association of Colored Women, including Fannie Barrier Williams, Mary Church Terrell, and Ida B. Wells.

64. God is a Negro: Henry McNeal Turner

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A late 19th-century churchman tries to explain how slavery fit into God’s plan and decide whether the future for African Americans lies in Africa or America.

65. Separate Fingers, One Hand: Booker T. Washington

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Was Booker T. Washington’s “accommodationist” approach to race relations a failure to stand up to injustice or a cunning strategy for incremental change?

66. Lifting the Veil: Introducing W.E.B. Du Bois

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W.E.B. Du Bois emerges as a historian, sociologist, and innovative philosophical thinker in the 1890s, and introduces his famous idea of "double consciousness."

67. Chike Jeffers on Slavery and Diasporic Philosophy

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Co-host Chike joins Peter to look back at series two and ahead to series three.

68. The Problem of the Color Line: Introducing the Twentieth Century

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By exploring the work and activities of W.E.B. Du Bois around the turn of the twentieth century, we introduce some of the themes of our coverage of that century.

69. The Best We Have: The American Negro Academy

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The ANA unites leading African American scholars of the early 20th century, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, William Ferris, Archibald Grimké, and Kelly Miller (pictured).

70. Tommy Curry on the Early 20th Century

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We chat with Tommy Curry about African-American thought between the turn of the century and the Harlem Renaissance.

71. In Blyden’s Wake: West African Intellectuals of the Early Twentieth Century

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West African intellectuals like J.E. Casely-Hayford (pictured) and Mojola Agbebi build upon Edward Blyden’s ideas at the dawn of the twentieth century.

72. In A Class of Their Own: Early African American Socialism

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Around the time of World War One, Hubert Harrison (pictured), A. Philip Randolph, and other black socialists argue that racial oppression is caused by capitalism.

73. Vanessa Wills on Africana Marxism

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Vanessa Wills speaks  to us about Marx and his Africana legacy, with a special focus on black women Marxists.

74. Black Star: Marcus Garvey

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Marcus Garvey leads a powerful movement, inspires racial pride, and feuds with other thinkers like Du Bois.

75. Now I Have a Rival: the Two Amy Garveys

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Marcus Garvey’s two wives, Amy Ashwood Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey (pictured), establish themselves as activists in their own right and provide feminist voices within the Pan-African movement.

76. Michael Dawson on Garvey and Black Nationalism

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An interview with Michael Dawson, who explains Marcus Garvey's black nationalism and how this and other political ideologies, like socialism and liberalism, have fared from the time of Garvey down to the present day.

77. A Race Capital: the Harlem Renaissance

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The artistic flowering of the 1920s known as the Harlem Renaissance raises important questions about identity and the purpose of art.

81. Making History: Carter G. Woodson

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Pioneering historian Carter G. Woodson argues for a new approach to education and economic uplift.

82. The Florida Project: Zora Neale Hurston

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Zora Neale Hurston’s interest in Africana folklore feeds into her great novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

83. Songs of the People: Paul Robeson and the Negro Spiritual

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The career of the multi-talented activist and performer Paul Robeson, and the place of the Negro spiritual in the Harlem Renaissance.

84. Live Long and Protest: W.E.B. Du Bois, 1920-1963

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Du Bois moves to the left, and revisits and refines older positions during the latter half of his very long life.

86. French Connection: The Negritude Movement

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Our first look at the emergence of the Negritude movement in Paris in the 1930s, with a focus on the early leadership of the Nardal sisters and Leon Damas.

87. Call It Intuition: Leopold Senghor

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Leopold Senghor compares different ways of knowing while developing his theory of Negritude and combining the roles of poet and politician.

88. The Surreal Deal: Aimé and Suzanne Césaire

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Negritude thinkers Aimé and Suzanne Césaire embrace surrealism and reflect on the relationships between poetry, knowledge, and identity.

91. Massa Day Done: Oliver Cox and Eric Williams

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Two Trinidadian political thinkers: sociologist Oliver Cox analyzes the nature of racial prejudice, and historian Eric Williams connects capitalism to slavery.

92. Half the World: Claudia Jones

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Claudia Jones argues that Communism provides the remedy for racism and imperialism.

94. How Did You Happen? Richard Wright

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Famous for his incendiary novel Native Son, Richard Wright responds in his multifaceted writings to sociology, communism, colonialism, and existentialism.

95. Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison

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Ralph Ellison provides a new metaphor for the experience of racism in his Invisible Man and tackles topics of art and identity in his essays.

97. American Dream: Martin Luther King Jr.

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The story of Martin Luther King Jr. up to 1963, focusing on the development of his philosophy of nonviolence.

98. Meena Krishnamurthy on Martin Luther King Jr

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An interview about the role of the emotions, including anger and feelings of dignity, in the non-violent protest campaign of King.

99. American Nightmare: Malcolm X

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The life and career of Malcolm X up to 1963, with a focus on his separatist black nationalism and his critique of non-violent protest.

100. Chike Jeffers on the First Half of the Twentieth Century

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Chike joins Peter to look back at our coverage of Africana philosophy in the first half of the 20th century.

101. Crossing Paths: the Last Years of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr

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After 1963, the views of Malcolm X and MLK came closer together, on topics including internationalism, political engagement, and economics.

102. From Cuba with Love: Juan Rene Betancourt

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The Cuban activist and author Juan Rene Betancourt urges racial solidarity and reckons with the revolution under Castro and the island’s turn towards Communism.

105. Meeting the Gaze: Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks

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Frantz Fanon combines psychoanalysis and existential phenomenology to diagnose neuroses deriving from the colonial condition.

106. Combat Literature: Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth

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Fanon’s incendiary final work explores the violent process of decolonization.

107. Lewis Gordon on Frantz Fanon

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We're joined by a leading Fanon expert to talk about a range of themes in his work: Negritude, psychiatry, and violence.

108. Or Does It Explode? Lorraine Hansberry

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The author of the famous play, A Raisin in the Sun, explores questions of violence, sexuality, and more during her too brief life. 

109. Say It Loud: Black Power

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How the controversial slogan “black power,” used by activists like H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael (pictured), relates to ideas of militancy, separatism, and the power of language.

110. Politics with Bloodshed: the Black Panthers

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The philosophical underpinnings of a “vanguard of revolution” led by Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver: the Black Panther Party.

111. A Kwanzaa Story: Maulana Karenga

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The Pan-Africanist philosopher Maulana Karenga defends the importance of cultural revolution and invents the holiday Kwanzaa.

113. A Fighting God: Black Theology

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After Albert Cleage and James Cone propose a liberatory interpretation of Christianity, William R. Jones wonders whether God is a white racist. We also follow Black Theology among “Womanist” authors and in South Africa.

117. Spear of the Nation: Nelson Mandela and the ANC

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The career and ideas of Nelson Mandela up to the time of his imprisonment, in the context of the founding of the African National Congress.

118. African Survivals: Abdias do Nascimento

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Abdias do Nascimento, a leader in Brazilian theater and politics, and his theory of Quilombismo.

119. The Space Race: Afrofuturism

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Sun Ra and Parliament-Funkadelic return to claim the pyramids, and Octavia Butler uses science fiction to confront the brutal past of slavery.

Thanks to Stephan Terre for the creation of the futuristic intro music!

120. Redemption Songs: Reggae and Rastafari

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How the Rastafari movement grew from trends within Africana philosophy, and then passed into global popular culture in the music of Bob Marley and other reggae artists.

122. A More Human Face: Steve Biko

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Famous for his killing at the hands of the Apartheid government in South Africa, Steve Biko was also a deep thinker, who introduced the notion of Black Consciousness.

123. History Teaches Us: Walter Rodney

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Pan-Africanist and Marxist historian Walter Rodney rethinks Black Power, engages with Rastafari, and opposes racial division in his home country of Guyana.

124. Double Jeopardy: Black Feminism

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Toni Cade Bambara, the Combahee River Collective, the Brixton Black Women's Group, and Awa Thiam critique white feminist and black nationalist failures to recognize the unique struggle of the black woman.

125. Phenomenal Woman: The Black Women’s Literary Renaissance

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Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Maya Angelou explore the themes of black feminism (or “womanism”) in their fiction. 

Warning: this episode contains discussion of sexual violence and suicide.

126. Fugitive for Justice: Angela Davis

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The eventful life and penetrating philosophy of Angela Davis, an icon of resistance deeply informed by Marxism and influential on black feminist thought.

127. Knowing the Difference: Audre Lorde

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In poetry and prose, especially her collection Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde explores ideas of difference, eroticism, and feminist theory.

128. Marginal Comments: bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins

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We bring the story of black feminism up to the turn of the century with the incisive works of bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins.

129. Afrophone Home: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

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How one of Kenya's greatest writers came to argue that African literature should be written in African languages.

427. Brave New World: Shakespeare’s Tempest and Colonialism

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Can Shakespeare’s Tempest be read as a reflection on the English encounter with the peoples of the Americas?

131. Mixed Messages: Black British Cultural Studies

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Stuart Hall pioneers “cultural studies,” offering tools for analysis of films, television, fiction and music that were put to use by followers like Paul Gilroy and Hazel Carby.

Thanks to Glenn Adamson for his feedback on this episode!

132. French Creolizing: Edouard Glissant and the Créolité Movement

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Poet, novelist, playwright and philosopher Edouard Glissant, his theory of "creolization", and the Creolists who were influence by him. 

133. John Drabinski on Edouard Glissant

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The author of an important book on Glissant joins us to talk about his approach to this major Caribbean thinker.

134. The Marx Brothers: Cedric J. Robinson

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Cedric J. Robinson reflects on the power and limitations of Marxism while charting the past and prospects of black radical thought.

135. Mastering Ceremonies: Sylvia Wynter

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Sylvia Wynter offers a bold and provocative assessment of the role of the humanities in understanding humankind.

136. Civilization Reclaimed: African-Centered Thought

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Writers like George G.M. James, John Henrik Clarke, Cheikh Anta Diop, Yosef ben-Jochannan, and Chancellor Williams prepare the way for the Afrocentricity of Molefi Asante and capture the imaginations of hip hop artists and intellectuals like Ta-Nehisi Coates.

137. Asante Sana: Molefi Asante’s Afrocentricity

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What inspired Asante's philosophy of Afrocentricity, and its relationship to religion, nationalism, and feminism. 

138. Taking it Out of Neutral: Critical Race Theory

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A movement of legal scholars diagnoses the limitations of merely “formal” measures against discrimination, a point they connect to issues like affirmative action, democratic process, and intersectionality.

139. A Love Supreme: Cornel West

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An introduction to the thought of Cornel West, focusing on his early essay “Philosophy and the Afro-American Experience.”

140. Cornel West on Himself

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Cornel West joins us to look back on the development of his thought and the many authors who have inspired him.

141. Job Openings: the Rise of Africana Professional Philosophy

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The key events and figures in philosophy as an academic discipline, in both Africa and the diaspora, from the 1970s to the 1990s.

142. Final Chat with Chike Jeffers

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How Africana philosophy looked to a young Chike Jeffers, coming into the field in the early 21st century.