Women and Gender

25 - Soul and the City: Plato's Political Philosophy

Posted on

In his masterpiece the Republic, Plato describes the ideal city and draws a parallel between this city and the just soul, with the three classes of the city mirroring the three parts of the soul. Peter discusses this parallel and the historical context that may have influenced Plato's political thought.

31 - Wings of Desire: Plato's Erotic Dialogues

Posted on

In this episode, Peter discusses Plato’s erotic dialogues, the Lysis, the Phaedrus and the Symposium, and talks about the relationship between love, friendship and philosophy in Plato’s thought.

48 - Constitutional Conventions: Aristotle's Political Philosophy

Posted on

Peter looks at the ideal arrangement of the state in Aristotle’s Politics, his critique of Plato’s Republic and his views on slavery.

97 - A Tale of Two Cities: The Last Pagan Philosophers

Posted on

Neoplatonism had a long-standing association with traditional Greek religion. How did philosophers respond when Christians gained ascendancy?

192 - The Stronger Sex: Women Scholars and Islam

Posted on

Fatema Mernissi and others challenge the long-standing (but not complete) exclusion of women from the intellectual traditions of Islam.

208. Get Thee to a Nunnery: Heloise and Abelard

Posted on

Peter Abelard and Heloise prove themselves to be fascinating thinkers as well as star-crossed lovers.

221. Leading Light: Hildegard of Bingen

Posted on

The life, visions, political intrigues and scientific interests of Hildegard of Bingen.

237. Begin the Beguine: Hadewijch and Mechthild of Magdeburg

Posted on

Two Beguine authors, Hadewijch and Mechthild of Magdeburg, deploy the tropes of courtly love in vernacular writings about their mystical experiences.

16. Better Half: Women in Ancient India

Posted on

Women philosophers and ideas about women in Buddhism, the Upanisads, and the Mahabharata.

267. After Virtue: Marguerite Porete

Posted on

Marguerite Porete is put to death for her exploration of the love of God, The Mirror of Simple Souls.

291. Alle Maner of Thyng Shall be Welle: English Mysticism

Posted on

Julian of Norwich’s Shewings and the Cloud of Unknowing lay out challenging paths to knowledge of, and union with, God.

293. The Good Wife: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages

Posted on

Medieval attitudes towards homosexuality, sex and chastity, and the status of women. Authors discussed include Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, and Chaucer.

294. Isabel Davis on Sexuality and Marriage in Chaucer

Posted on

Peter is joined by Isabel Davis to discuss marriage, sex and chastity in Chaucer, focusing on the Wife of Bath's speech.

295. The Most Christian Doctor: Jean Gerson

Posted on

Jean Gerson’s role in the political disputes of his day, the spread of lay devotion and affective mysticism, and the debate over the Romance of the Rose initiated by Christine de Pizan.

8. Solomon, Socrates, and Other Sages: Early Ethiopian Philosophy

Posted on

Translations of religious and philosophical texts into Ge’ez, a national epic called the Kebra Nagast, and other developments in the story of philosophy in Ethiopia.

9. In You I Take Shelter: Zera Yacob

Posted on

The 17th century Ethiopian rationalist Zera Yacob, hailed as the first modern Africana philosopher.

10. Think for Yourself: Walda Heywat

Posted on

Walda Heywat’s reaction to the thought of his teacher Zera Yacob, and the dispute over the authenticity of these two Ethiopian philosophers.

13. Renewing the Faith: the Sokoto Caliphate

Posted on

Uthman Dan Fodio and his family were scholars, poets, and warriors whose jihad in 19th century Nigeria created the Sokoto Caliphate.

313. Queen of the Sciences: Anna Komnene and her Circle

Posted on

Princess Anna Komnene makes good use of her political retirement by writing her Alexiad and gathering a circle of scholars to write commentaries on Aristotle.

315. Wiser Than Men: Gender in Byzantium

Posted on

The role of women in Byzantine society and the complex attitudes surrounding eunuchs: did they make up a “third gender”?

22. Women Have No Tribe: Gender in African Tradition

Posted on

What archeology, ethnography, and philosophical interpretation tell us about the diverse and often ambiguous roles of men and women in traditional African societies.

23. Nkiru Nzegwu on Gender in African Tradition

Posted on

An interview with Nkiru Nzegwu on matriarchy, sexuality, and gender fluidity in Africa (with a quick chat at the end about her work on African art).

25. Wise Guys: Sage Philosophy

Posted on

Henry Odera Oruka’s new method for exploring philosophy in Africa, based on interviews with wise individuals.

33. Young, Gifted, and Black: Phillis Wheatley

Posted on

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

336. We Built This City: Christine de Pizan

Posted on

Christine de Pizan's political philosophy, epistemology, and the refutation of misogyny in her "City of Ladies".

40. American Africans: Early Black Institutions in the US

Posted on

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

337. More Rare Than the Phoenix: Italian Women Humanists

Posted on

Cassandra Fedele, Isotta Nogarola, and Laura Cereta seek fame and glory through eloquence and learning.

338. All About Eve: the Defense of Women

Posted on

Refutation of misogyny in Moderata Fonte and Lucrezia Marinella.

44. Religion and Pure Principles: Maria W. Stewart

Posted on

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

341. True Romance: Theories of Love

Posted on

Ficino describes a “Platonic” love purified of sexuality, prompting a debate carried on by Pico della Mirandola, Pietro Bembo, and Tullia d’Aragona.

46. Melvin Rogers on Early 19th Century Political Thought

Posted on

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

51. I Read Men and Nations: Sojourner Truth and Frances Harper

Posted on

The moral crusades of Sojourner Truth and Frances Harper, activists against racial and gender oppression.

52. Great White North: Emigration to Canada

Posted on

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

61. When and Where I Enter: Anna Julia Cooper

Posted on

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

62. American Barbarism: Ida B. Wells

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

67. Chike Jeffers on Slavery and Diasporic Philosophy

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

73. Vanessa Wills on Africana Marxism

Posted on

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

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

Posted on

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.

82. The Florida Project: Zora Neale Hurston

Posted on

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

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

88. The Surreal Deal: Aimé and Suzanne Césaire

Posted on

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

385. I Too Can Ask Questions: Protestant Scholasticism

Posted on

In a surprise twist, some Protestant thinkers embrace the methods of scholasticism, and even find something to admire in the work of Catholic authors like Aquinas.

386. Perhaps Not Wrong: Cornelius Agrippa

Posted on

Was Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa a dark magician, a pious skeptic, or both?

92. Half the World: Claudia Jones

Posted on

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

93. Carole Boyce Davies on Claudia Jones

Posted on

Interview guest Carole Boyce Davies joins us to talk about the radical ideas of Claudia Jones.

96. A Lover’s War: James Baldwin

Posted on

In The Fire Next Time and other writings, the essayist and novelist James Baldwin seeks to dispel the illusions surrounding racial and sexual difference.

398. Pearls of Wisdom: Marguerite of Navarre

Posted on

A Renaissance queen supports philosophical humanism and produces literary works on spirituality, love, and the soul.

399. Seriously Funny: Rabelais

Posted on

In his outrageous novel about the giants Pantagruel and Gargantua, Rabelais engages with scholasticism, humanism, medicine, the reformation, and the querelle des femmes.

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

Posted on

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

108. Or Does It Explode? Lorraine Hansberry

Posted on

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

110. Politics with Bloodshed: the Black Panthers

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

112. Poems That Kill: the Black Arts Movement

Posted on

African American literature of the late 1960s reflects the Black Power movement, in the works of such authors as Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, Larry Neal, and Sonia Sanchez.

113. A Fighting God: Black Theology

Posted on

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.

415. The Tenth Muse: Marie de Gournay

Posted on

Marie le Jars de Gourney, the “adoptive daughter” of Montaigne, lays claim to his legacy and argues for the equality of the sexes.

119. The Space Race: Afrofuturism

Posted on

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!

417. To Kill a King: The Scottish Reformation

Posted on

John Knox polemicizes against idolaters and female rulers, while the humanist George Buchanan argues more calmly for equally radical political conclusions.

121. No Agreement: Fela Kuti and Wole Soyinka

Posted on

The political and musical revolution of Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, the social critique of his cousin, the playwright Wole Soyinka, and the extraordinary career of Fela's mother Funmilayo.

420. No Place Will Please Me So: Thomas More

Posted on

What is the message of the famous, but elusive, work Utopia, and how can it be squared with the life of its author?

124. Double Jeopardy: Black Feminism

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

127. Knowing the Difference: Audre Lorde

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

428. Weird Sisters: Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Witchcraft

Posted on

How Macbeth reflects the anxieties and explanations surrounding witchcraft and witch-hunting in early modern Europe.

131. Mixed Messages: Black British Cultural Studies

Posted on

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!

429. She Uttereth Piercing Eloquence: Women’s Spiritual Literature

Posted on

How women’s writing in England changed from the early fifteenth century, the time of Margery Kempe, to the late sixteenth century, the time of Anne Lock.

135. Mastering Ceremonies: Sylvia Wynter

Posted on

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

137. Asante Sana: Molefi Asante’s Afrocentricity

Posted on

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

138. Taking it Out of Neutral: Critical Race Theory

Posted on

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.

141. Job Openings: the Rise of Africana Professional Philosophy

Posted on

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