Transcript: 67. Chike Jeffers on Slavery and Diasporic Philosophy

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

Note: this transcription was produced by automatic voice recognition software. It has been corrected by hand, but may still contain errors. We are very grateful to Tim Wittenborg for his production of the automated transcripts and for the efforts of a team of volunteer listeners who corrected the texts.

Peter Adamson: Listeners may remember that at the end of the first series where we looked at philosophy and pre-colonial traditions, you joined me for a discussion where we talked about the issues and the figures and the texts and the lack of texts that we discussed in that first series, and so we're going to do something similar here. But I actually thought maybe we could start by looking back at part one and talking about how it relates to part two, because in some ways they were very different series, right? Series one goes all the way back to ancient Egypt. And we also talked about oral traditions where there's no tradition of writing and whether it makes sense to talk about philosophy in that kind of context. Whereas here we had an awful lot of writing to consider.

Chike Jeffers: Correct. Yeah. It is interesting that we of course pointed out the oral part of things, talking about Douglass as an orator, Sojourner Truth particularly is one of the places where we mentioned the importantly oral character – I think in her case, she didn't herself do the writing. And so it's interesting that orality continued to play a role, but yes, I think an important contrast between the two would be that we were especially interested in what happens when you start to have writing, particularly in European languages, by people from Sub-Saharan Africa in the modern era.

Peter Adamson: And do you see really strong connections as well between what we've been covering in this second series and what we did in the first series?

Chike Jeffers: Yes. One thing that was pointed out many times was the fascination and interest so many of the thinkers had with ancient Egypt and Ethiopia; there's always, I think, an interesting issue there of what is the word Ethiopia referring to? As we've seen, sometimes thinkers are using the word Ethiopia to refer to almost all of Africa, or Ethiopians to refer to Africans in general. Sometimes when thinkers are looking back at, say, Greek or biblical sources, there's the question of whether what's really being talked about there is Danubia. But in any case, the talk of Egypt and Ethiopia by so many of the thinkers, and the ways in which they treated it as sort of the foundation of a tradition, actually, there's a sense in which you could say that they constructed traditions that would mirror the trajectory of the podcast in that sense, by looking back to ancient Egypt as a place of learning and thought that is somehow relevant to look back upon by the diasporic thinkers in the 19th century and so on.

Peter Adamson: I guess especially the figures who were involved in the Masonic movement, they would look at our podcast series and say, yes, exactly right. Our culture goes back to ancient Egypt.

Chike Jeffers: Yeah. And I think that that's an aspect of how things worked that I even did not recognize as much before we worked on this podcast, just how much the Masonic movement was important.

Peter Adamson: And we also had figures who reflect on the presence of Islam in Africa with more or less generous attitudes towards Islam. Maybe one thing that didn't come up so often though is the question of oral tradition. I mean, certainly there's a lot of talk of civilizing Africa, people saying things like these cultures were barbaric. And so in a way, we might say that they were missing something that we managed to cover.

Chike Jeffers: Interestingly, when you refer to reflections on Islam in Africa, of course, one of the most important figures reflecting on Islam in Africa was Edward Blyden. And what we tracked, in terms of Blyden’s evolution in thought, is that he moved from what was the norm for the thinkers in our series, that is to say, a pretty low opinion of traditional African cultures, to this very strong appreciation. And he is, in that sense, this pioneer of cultural nationalism, as we said in the episode on him. And so I think that's relevant to the contrast that you draw there, that Blyden represents what was the norm, but then points the way towards more serious consideration of oral traditions. But something else I'd throw in there though, is that if we go back to the very beginning, or almost the very beginning of this second part, you have figures like Cugoano, who lived until he was 13 in this traditional, fancy world. And I don't know that we ever mentioned it, but you see him actually in his text highlight matters of oral tradition. He says at one point that he stayed, I think he's talking about when he was staying at his uncle’s, and he says something like 20 moons, which is roughly equivalent to two years or something like that. And so where we start, we can also think about Amo, and how Amo actually went back and apparently maybe inserted himself into oral traditions as a sort of soothsayer, according to one of the descriptions of what happened when he went home. We start with these figures who can't help but have some connection to oral traditions because they were born there. But as we move into the 19th century, more and more of our figures who weren't living in Africa were not born in Africa either. And so with that transition, yeah, there's that increased distance from oral traditions.

Peter Adamson: In fact, and actually it occurred to me before, but now that you say that, we've moved from looking at people who lived in Africa, to people who were born in Africa and then kidnapped and taken away as slaves, to people who were born into slavery in the Caribbean or Brazil or United States. And now we're moving as we reach the turn of the 20th century, we're moving to people who were born after the end of slavery. So that's interesting. So maybe we can also talk about, as well as talking about the connections to part one, we could also talk about the connections between all the figures and topics we've talked about in part two, because geographically speaking, we've covered people who lived in Africa, especially West Africa. We've covered people who lived in the Caribbean, in Brazil, and in North America, mostly the United States, also Canada even. So there's a lot going on and also Europe, right? So you mentioned Cugoano, and he's not the only one. So is there, do you think, really like one conversation that unites all of these figures? Are they all aware of what each other are doing? Are they all kind of participating in just one discourse? Or is it more like we've got three or four sites of activity which have thematic resonances, but don't connect to each other that much?

Chike Jeffers: That's a great question. I mean, the way that you listed those various sites, and in one sense, the sites are sort of far-flung, but then from another perspective, all you did was sort of make a circle around the Atlantic. And so there is, in that sense, a unity, even geographically, which is something that someone that we would talk about at some point in part three, Paul Gilroy helped people emphasize with his book, The Black Atlantic. But in terms of the connections between thinkers in our second part of the series, certainly we have figures that you can't just relate to one place, and that is sometimes because of slavery. So again, there's the example of Cugoano. Born in West Africa, worked as a slave in the Caribbean, ended up in Britain. So there's the involuntary movement that affects things here. And then you have someone like Blyden, who, born in the Caribbean, moves initially to the States, but then soon after that moves to West Africa – and who is one of his friends and colleagues in Liberia, well, Alexander Crummell, and the two of them visit the US to promote emigration to Liberia. So there's quite a lot of crisscrossing that's part of the story. So you couldn't just reduce it in that sense to different places, different conversations with thematic resonances. You would at least have to start there with the thematic resonances, but ultimately the conversation is a lot more linked than that.

Peter Adamson: You just mentioned the idea of voluntary emigration from North America back to Africa. And that's something that we touched on a lot, obviously, which may have surprised some listeners. In fact, it kind of surprised me, to be honest, because it's not obviously a philosophical question. It seems like it might be more of a prudential or practical question. Are my economic and political prospects better here in the United States, or would they be better in West Africa? So could you say a little bit about why you take that to be a philosophically rewarding topic? I mean, we did touch on this in the scripted episodes, but I think it would still be worth going over it one more time.

Chike Jeffers: Yeah, to me it is an eminently philosophical issue as discussed by the thinkers that we looked at. I think that one of the things we were able to bring out with all our discussion of the American Colonization Society, and the controversy over the American Colonization Society, I think we were able to bring out what a fraught issue that it was. And we looked at figures who even changed their mind, like John Russwurm. And when changing his mind, articulating philosophically interesting reasons for doing so, because the question is one of dignity for him and for some other figures who pressed for emigration. So if dignity is something to be valued, what is the course of action that is most consistent with dignity? And then that presses the issue on the other side of the debate of, well, why might it be the case that dignity involves not going? And so we saw someone like Maria Stewart argue that dignity requires not being removed once again. She had that really interesting argument where she treated the idea of colonization as proposed by the ACS, as yet another displacement, that there was a displacement of indigenous peoples, that there was a displacement of Africans to America. And that each time these Europeans are uninterested in seeking equality, they displace. And so she argues that that displacement is not consistent with Black dignity and must be opposed. So I think that that's sort of an indication, and the conversation, as someone who has listened to all the episodes of this part of the series can attest, the conversation is also so long and ongoing. We stuck with it even for the end with people like Turner. And personally, one of the things that I'm proud that we included is Frederick Alexander Durham, the emigrationist from the Caribbean. I think that, again, you have interesting philosophical questions. So for example, his claim that the focus of emigration should be Liberia, and the idea should be to build up Liberia as a particular free republic. And that Haitians are the only ones who don't need to leave you. And so you have there sort of the issue of what is the best political structure. One of the most fundamental questions of political philosophy: what is the idea of polity? And his argument that what you need is an independent Black republic, you need to have as little division as possible. And that's why there should be this focus on Liberia. So yeah, I think that throughout this time, you have really interesting issues around emigration that touch on fundamental questions of political philosophy.

Peter Adamson: Yeah, I guess actually, you can even say that some of the first discussions around topics like Black nationalism and identity and the possession of multiple identities, something we're going to see as we go on, is also relevant with Du Bois, right? So this idea that like, I'm an African, if I'm an African American, does that mean that I'm African or American or both? And what should I do with that? One other philosophical question that I noticed came up a lot with the emigration debate, maybe it was really with Turner that I started thinking about this – and then I realized that it had been there all along – is the question about the problem of evil, because a lot of course, a lot of these figures were very pious Christians, some of them were even churchmen. And they are wondering why God allowed slavery to happen. And so you have this very specific, important application of this familiar problem in the philosophy of religion, why does God allow evil to happen? And then you have the hypothesis that God has allowed slavery as an institution, because it gave Africans the equipment to then return to Africa, spread Christianity, spread the English language even, that that was providential. And whatever we make of that, it's like a really interesting case of people grappling with this actually very familiar philosophical problem from philosophy of religion.

Chike Jeffers: Yeah, I agree. It's absolutely there in that sense. And I think, again, of Cugoano, who tries his best to resist, and actually, I think this is also true for Lemuel Haynes in Liberty Further Extended. There are interesting ways in which you see them trying to resist the idea of a providential justification of slavery. But even though the ones who are, like Turner and actually even the early Blyden, those who are willing to say, this was like an educational trip, to put it in a sort of grim way, we were brought over here to learn some stuff and we can now bring that back – even the ones who go that way, they all make efforts to explain how they are in no way letting the people who enslaved off the hook, and how they try to explain that while holding this view of the providential nature of the trip, in that sense is interesting.

Peter Adamson: Well, speaking of not letting the guilty party off the hook, one of the other things that came up a lot is the question of violence and justifying violence in the face of injustice. And so in a way, I suppose one could say, well, if emigration is not the correct solution, and if Black people are going to stay in the country that's been enslaving them, and is continuing to repress them and oppress them, even after slavery ends, they ask themselves whether the right way to deal with that is to integrate with white society, or to rise up in some way, perhaps even including physical violence. And again, I thought it would be a good opportunity here to reflect more generally on that as a philosophical question. And again, not just as a kind of political pragmatic question, like if we launch a violent insurrection here, is it going to go better for us or worse? But as a question of justification of violence itself?

Chike Jeffers: Yes, that's true. Although I would resist the idea that we can super-easily tease apart the prudential aspects of these discussions. I think that there's ways of imagining prudential arguments for emigration and for violence that manage to sort of drop out all other philosophical issues. So you could artificially talk about how such a discussion might be purely prudential in that sense. And by that measure, of course, the thinkers that we look at are philosophical and not merely prudential. But at the same time as being philosophical, certainly the prudential is centrally important to how they're thinking this through. I mean, I think one of the interesting thinkers to consider here is Martin Delany. So connecting our previous question, emigration, with this question of violence, Martin Delany argues that emigration is necessary because of a certain impotence with regard to other strategies. So a certain impotence with regard to morally convincing your fellow citizens. And he makes an argument that you really can't morally convince without a sense of certain kind of force or power to be exercised, let's say, peacefully in law through democratic participation. Putting aside the problems with enfranchisement at the time that he was writing, even if all African Americans had the vote, he's making the argument that their voice would be outweighed. And so they don't have a force that they can bring to bear on the power structure in that regard. And then he also considers the question of violence, and there again says that it's just not going to work. He has an analogy to Magna Carta, where you had the barons forcing – is it King John?

Peter Adamson: One of those kings.

Chike Jeffers: Yeah, one of those kings – to sign the Magna Carta. And he makes an analogy where he says, we're surrounded by all these King Johns. So an interesting argument for a certain type of impotence, both with regard to violence and with regard to peaceful legal forms of transformation. And so this is in a speech that we mentioned, I'm sure, a Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent or something like that. We're forgetting the title, but it's his, I want to say 1854 speech. Anyway, yeah, so you have philosophical issues in terms of how someone like him is comparing these different options. I think that an interesting aspect of our story was ambiguity around what it means to advocate violence. We had David Walker and we had his pretty unambiguous defense of violent resistance.

Peter Adamson: He's the least ambiguous, I would say.

Chike Jeffers: That's right. And then you have Maria Stewart who idolizes him, and yet seems to put the emphasis on self-improvement and to sort of consciously and even explicitly de-emphasize violent resistance. Even as we then looked at at least one scholar who tried to argue that violent resistance is a prominent theme with her. And then you have, on the other hand, Henry Highland Garnet and his speech, the one that was addressed to the slaves and the one that said, let your model be resistance. And there we looked at what is not totally implausible – the idea that he more speaks about a resistance, even of a nonviolent kind, that is to say, refusing to continue to be a slave, even if that means that you're killed for it. And so there's the interpretation that he was maybe arguing for a nonviolent general strike. And yet, as we saw, there's still lots of other reasons to think that, well, he was being careful, but he was ultimately defending violent resistance in the same manner that David Walker was. So there's a lot of interesting issues there. One thing that I would say, if emigration is a kind of alternative to the hope that you can stay and integrate, so to speak, then I think it would make less sense for us to treat violence as an alternative to integration. And the reason I say that is because none of the thinkers that we looked at who were defending violence in the context of the United States, none of them were arguing that, well, so we'll undertake this violent revolution and then we'll rule or something like that. Or it was seemingly the idea that violent resistance will be part of how you become a rights-bearing citizen of the United States. And I think that when we got to thinkers like T. Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells, then again, you have them defending violence, particularly out of self-defense. That is part of their hope that fully equal citizenship is what's being pursued.

Peter Adamson: So it's about self-defense rather than revolution, one might say. Because violence would be a step along the road to integration rather than the antithesis of integration. That's your point?

Chike Jeffers: Yeah. I think that that's what we tend to see. And of course, we did consider thinkers of the Haitian Revolution. But what is of course interesting is that someone like Vastey has a lot more to say about the violence of the colonial state than what is the foundation and justification of revolutionary violence. So that's an interesting way in which the theme of violence is, in that sense, a conversation with multiple aspects and sides.

Peter Adamson: Something else that was quite striking, I think, about the series that we've just done is how many women thinkers we covered. You actually mentioned a couple in your answer to the last question, because you mentioned Maria Stewart, you mentioned Ida Wells. We talked about Phillis Wheatley. We talked with Brittney Cooper about a whole wide range of female thinkers. So that's, I think, a notable feature of what we just did and suggests that there was something about the 19th century, which is when a lot of these thinkers were active – Wheatley is a bit earlier – a lot of them were active in the 19th century. And it suggests that there's something about Africana thought in that period that seems to have generated the possibility of interesting contributions from female intellectuals.

Chike Jeffers: Interesting. Yeah. Well, I do think that to some extent we are able to tell this story at a time where those who are considering the history of Africana philosophy, like those who are considering, say, the history of early modern European philosophy, where there has come to be more of a conscience with regards to the need to read what's there, to see what's there. And so certainly you could have had versions of this series where if we, let's say, came along a bit earlier in time and were just less concerned to think about it, we could have had – I mean, and it was male-dominated to a good extent anyway, but it could have been worse in that regard – but as I say that, it is interesting that you have someone like Phillis Wheatley, who's really sort of a founding figure when it comes to especially Black writing and English, and one of the things that I think was important is the ways in which we pointed out the philosophical dimensions of her poetry, what she has to say about the nature of the imagination, for example. And it is, in that sense, interesting to really at the beginning of things have this major woman, and someone who is recognized as a creative mind, but as we have tried to emphasize also has a philosophical mind. And then the other interesting issue is not merely the prominence of women thinkers themselves, but the prominence of explicit attention to questions of gender. And so you have not just women thinkers, but feminist thinkers. And we can, of course, discuss that question of what does it take to be called a feminist? Was Maria Stewart a feminist? I mean, my answer to that would be yes. And then you have those for whom it's seemingly an even easier question like Sojourner Truth and like Anna Julia Cooper. So feminism and gender as distinctive themes, I think that's actually what is as or more impressive than the number of women thinkers that we have – just that becoming a very explicit issue. And in the ways that it's in the background, even when the thinker wasn't always focused on issues of gender. So Mary Ann Shadd, she's not thought of essentially focusing on gender, but I think we even quoted her reflecting on what it meant for her to take up the role of editor, the role of editing a newspaper and what it meant for her to break that glass ceiling. So even when it's not the issue that people most associate with the thinker, it's there, as in Mary Ann Shadd. And the episode itself, and then also the interview with Brittney Cooper, I think with Ida B. Wells, we made a lot of important steps there in making sure that the theme of gender in her work was foregrounded.

Peter Adamson: One of the things that clearly happened in the late 19th century is in the period of so-called Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. There are two political developments going on at the same time because you have the attempt to get rights for Black people. You also have the attempt to get rights for women. And we actually see that echoing in male authors as well. Frederick Douglass talks about it. Washington talks about it. Washington talks explicitly about education for Black girls as well as for boys, although he maybe has more the Black boys in mind. But he talks about both for sure. So I think that might actually be part of the explanation.

Chike Jeffers: Yeah, I think it is part of it.

Peter Adamson: Another thing that struck me while I was sort of looking back over everything we've covered in these dozens of episodes – this is really something we did not talk about, I guess – is the wide range of different kinds of texts that we've been reading. So we weren't mostly dealing here with oral traditions, but as you said before, that does come up. So we have Sojourner Truth doesn't write anything herself, but we have reports about things she said, either because she dictated them, like with her autobiography, or the most famous thing she quote-unquote “wrote” is a speech that was represented or reported in a newspaper. And so we've got that, we've got political pamphlets, we've got editorials written by people like Fortune, we've got outright treatises, we've got poems. And basically, every kind of writing that existed at the time was used to express Africana thought in this period. So can you reflect on that a little bit?

Chike Jeffers: I think that it is important. One of the things we did early on was talk about the philosophical dimensions of so-called slave narratives. I think that early on within part two was a significant way of looking at how someone like Gronniosaw, for example, was bringing up the problem of evil again, as you mentioned. He very interestingly brings up questions of how one conceives of religion and the role it plays in where one goes. Because I think we talked about how his narrative sort of seems to have this theme of homelessness, where the only true home is ultimately going to be with the Lord. So there's almost an existential dimension of the narrative there. And I think it's important that we brought out things like that. I mean, there are ways in which I wouldn't want to overemphasize the diversity of genre. One of the things that we noted is that Cugoano sometimes will get lumped in with an Equiano or a Gronniosaw– he was, of course, a friend of Equiano and refers to Gronniosaw in the book – and John Marrant. And to take myself on a small tangent, one of the interesting moments where we showed the diversity of genre is actually when we took from Marrant’s journal of his time preaching in the province where I live, Nova Scotia. We had an interesting moment where we talked about him and the question of determinism. And that was coming out of him reporting in his journal how a certain appearance in the pulpit had gone. So there's been lots of interesting questions of genre. But I was speaking about Cugoano because I had wanted to point out that there are times when people have referred to his book as a slave narrative. And yet, as we pointed out, there's an early autobiographical portion. And then ultimately, it's a political treatise. And then when you get to someone like Douglass, a very central figure in our story, it reminds me a little bit of how you had to deal with the centrality of Aquinas when you were doing your series on Latin medieval. And in some ways, you tried to not make him overly central, but then he would just keep coming up in various episodes. And so similarly, like Douglass, if one counts up the episodes in which we mentioned Douglass, it's actually quite widespread. But I bring him up to say that clearly, narrative and autobiographical narrative is essentially important with him. But this is why I found it important that we have that episode on the speeches. Because in the speeches, yes, it's a speech, and yes, there's an aspect of how that affects the rhetorical character of the work that is perhaps different from a written treatise. But the difference, I think, at that point actually becomes rather slight in terms of making and developing arguments. Because the logical structure that Douglass is going to bring to a speech where he's building up an argument step-by-step, one of the most fascinating arguments being – this is, I think, somewhere where we may be comparing him to someone like Al-Ghazali – where he philosophically makes an argument for philosophy not being what's needed at that moment, and argues that you can logically understand why. Because he makes this argument where all of the philosophical points have already been conceded in practice. And so this is why philosophy is not needed, but rather the rhetorical force of scorn and condemnation. So in that regard, I think that's maybe a nice example of what I'm talking about. Douglass is, at that moment, delivering an oral address. And he is consciously reflecting on what's important and what's powerful about what he's doing. And he is, in a sense, differentiating it from a standard philosophical treatise through this self-conscious reflection.

Peter Adamson: Yeah, even the choices they make of the forms to write in are themselves philosophically informed, and in a way it's even continuous with what we were talking about with violence, because it's like, do I write confrontationally? Do I write invective? Do I write the way Booker T. writes? Ingratiatingly trying to remind the white people of their better nature and so on. By the way, on this topic, I have to say by far the thing I was most surprised to find myself reading in terms of genre is Paul Cuffe's ship logs. We loaded 500 pounds of timber today, the weather was fair, and sort of paging through stuff like that, looking for the philosophical nuggets, and they are there. We went through a lot of timber and weather.

Chike Jeffers: That's true. Exactly. No, you have to, I really do think that as historians of philosophy, we have to have that patience sometimes. And to be clear, it's not a matter of you and I thinking that just anything is philosophy, or even that just anything can be philosophy. I do think that it's probably closer to what we believe when you say something like anything can be of philosophical interest. But that very example, no, most of what you get in his ship logs is not going to be philosophy, but that's a place you have to look. And you have to look there to see him. And it's of course interesting, as you know, which I guess may not be something that we communicated when we spoke about Cuffe. His spelling is awful. And so it's, yeah, you're reading through these ship logs, where you're reconstructing the words because of the very non-standard spelling, but then you get him saying something like Sierra Leone might be the country in which this people rise to become a people, which is a funny sentence in and of itself, but of course is reconstructable as this very philosophical point. He's already referring to this people as a kind of a people, because he just called them people, But this may be where they rise to become a people, where he's clearly suggesting that Sierra Leone may be where there becomes this entrance on the world stage from a point of view of independence. And of course for him, that independence would of course centrally involve the ability to exchange, engage in mutually beneficial commercial interactions.

Peter Adamson: Well, actually, can I ask you something else? Because I was just saying how surprised I found myself to be reading ship logs as part of the reading for the podcast. Of course, almost all of this was new to me. I knew a little bit about Douglass, a little bit about Wells, maybe a few other figures, but pretty much everything was new learning for me, which wouldn’t have been the case for you. So I suppose that for you, some of what we covered might have been pretty familiar, but some of it might have been surprising. So I was wondering what was the most surprising thing that you came across while we were working on these episodes?

Chike Jeffers: Great question. Actually, the first thing I'll bring up in answering that will be a continuation of what I was just saying, because there was a moment there where I was saying, okay, we talked about Cuffe's ship logs and Marrant's journal. And I was trying to remember something else where it involves paging through a lot that seems utterly irrelevant, but then you find the good stuff there. And then I finally remembered what that is, which is Ignatius Sancho's letters. To reflect on the genre there is interesting, because there you have a case of a literary genre, which doesn't exist in the same way today as it existed then. There's much less interest that you could stir up in the general public to just read a bunch of letters by a person. When we were doing this series was the first time that I seriously read through Sancho's letters. And that involves lots of wading through little silly jokes and how is so-and-so doing. But then you have things like his argument for animal rights. You have him reflecting on religion in ways that contrast with most of the other thinkers that we were looking at. I would definitely have to put him as one of the people who – I don't know whether I would call it a surprise; there it’s a case of I knew about him, but I never had taken the time to really go through, and I do feel like I discovered so much. Here I want to just bring up Hosea Easton. His Treatise is remarkable with the various things that are going on in it, and how it relates also to Walker and Stewart, his fellow Bostonians. They were all in Boston at that one time, which I do think was a really nice part of the series where we could kind of zero in on the intellectual firmness in that place at that time.

Peter Adamson: You also have authors and figures who kind of cross paths, and you realize that all these people knew each other.

Chike Jeffers: Absolutely.

Peter Adamson: As we are coming up soon to an episode on the American Negro Academy, and Crummell will reappear there as the first president.

Chike Jeffers: Of course, he is the founder of it, which is a great person to bring up because of course you nicely started the episode on Crummell by pointing out how you can connect him to so many of the people in the series. And I do think that that's important. Douglass, we mentioned so many times, but I think people may have not been surprised by that, if they did know anything about the period they were covering, perhaps Douglass coming up a lot would in that sense be something that they would expect and predict.

Peter Adamson: That was the least surprising thing.

Chike Jeffers: Yes, right. Whereas, the fact that Crummell has a stature that's quite similar in certain ways from the perspective of within the tradition. I think this is maybe part of the key. Douglass became such an American figure, if I can put it that way, that is claimed by America as a whole. It's harder to do that with Crummell. It's easier, from the perspective of just telling the story of America, to have Douglass be a huge character in your telling of the 19th century and Cromwell to either not be mentioned at all, or maybe be a quick aside. I think we showed how, but if you're thinking from the perspective of the thinkers themselves in this time, that's the time when you recognize someone like Crummell is absolutely central.

Peter Adamson: I think that's actually true. I would even say that that's true of the whole podcast, not just the Africana podcast, but the whole History of Philosophy podcast project. In every period, there are supposedly minor figures who maybe I even had barely heard of. Then as you start going through, they keep coming up. For example, from a very different time and place, Thomas Bradwardine. He's this 14th-century figure. Okay, Thomas Bradwardine, I've heard the name, but when I was doing the 14th century, he comes up in four or five episodes and touches on all these different topics. Maybe Crummell is the Thomas Bradwardine of late 19th-century Africana thought. And no one’s ever thought of that.

Chike Jeffers: If you take nothing else away from what we’ve said.

Peter Adamson: Let me ask you one last thing before we wrap up, which is just to look ahead now. I suppose one difference between the 20th century, which is what we're turning to next, and the 19th century, is that in the 20th century, there are a lot of famous figures we're going to be covering.

Chike Jeffers: Who would you have in mind as an example?

Peter Adamson: Famous as philosophers like Frantz Fanon, famous as political figures like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, famous for – people who are maybe more literary figures like Zora Neale Hurston and James Baldwin. The number of household names is going to rise sharply now that we hit the 20th century. I don't know whether there's anything you'd like to say looking forward to this period, beyond reeling off the famous names. If you were going to encourage people to keep listening, I suppose if they stuck with us this far, they probably will. But what are you most looking forward to maybe about the 20th century?

Chike Jeffers: One thing that is interesting about what we're going to do, I think, is that by discussing the 20th century, we are going to thereby be discussing the time where you, at least by the last third of the century, started to have a critical mass of professional philosophers from the Africana world. That however is not going to be our focus. Interestingly, with regard to the critical mass of philosophers from the African continent, part of the reason it won't be our focus is because of how much we did on that in part one. We will talk about, particularly in the US, African American professional philosophers. Sometimes there'll be ones who even get their own episode. We certainly are going to have an episode on Alain Locke, to speak of an early figure, an episode that'll be on Cornel West. But, even in the case of Locke and West, Locke is most famous for the ways in which he was associated with the Harlem Renaissance, rather than the fact that he was a professional philosopher. Cornel West, in terms of a living person that we plan to talk about, he's not someone who has been employed in philosophy departments despite having a PhD in philosophy. Overall I think that one interesting feature of the series is we will have lots of thinkers who are trained to a significant degree in philosophy. Another person who would be similar to Cornel West in this regard would be Angela Davis, another philosophy PhD. If you take someone like Fanon, already famous as a philosopher but worked as a psychiatrist; King studied philosophy, at least in undergrad, I think that was his major. Du Bois studied philosophy as a major for his first degree at Harvard. So you have a lot of these figures for whom higher training, let's put it that way, in philosophy is an important part of who they are and why they think the way they think. But our interest will not be those people who are like myself. We are not going to be focused so much – again not that we won't be mentioning any – but we aren’t going to be focused so much on the people who take it all the way to the PhD and then get jobs in philosophy departments. Those people are crucially important, especially if we were – which we're not going to do – we were going to have a separate series on the 21st century, then at that point I actually think we would be focused on professional philosophers.

Peter Adamson: We could have an episode on Chike Jeffers.

Chike Jeffers: Interesting. But there are so many people to think about and talk about, who, for whatever experience they had during their higher education, learning philosophy, didn't end up making a career of that. We're going to look at presidents, people like Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. We're going to look at activists like Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Party. We're going to be looking at some of these different folks who are eminently philosophical in their writings, but who are active in all of these various different spheres. We're going to look more at Du Bois, who is one of my favorite thinkers. We're going to look at the Negritude thinkers. Negritude is artistic and intellectual movement that I am particularly interested in. So I look forward to us covering the movement as a whole and then especially Léopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire, as two of the major figures in that particular tradition. And what I would also flag while mentioning them is the way that they continue our discussion of genre. So both of them write essays, but they're also even more famously poets, Senghor and Césaire that is, who I don't know if we still have it, but we have really nice images of them on the website. So there's the question of genre in terms of poetry being a part of how they're expressing their ideas, and then just the question that we asked of, you know, is there a unified conversation going on? Well, you know, there you have Senghor who is from Senegal, Césaire who is from Martinique, and then they're together in Paris in the 1930s, but they ultimately become politicians back home, even though they maintain, I think, a lifelong friendship and admiration for each other. So they go back to these places. And so in that regard, we're looking at what happens when people come together in places like Paris and New York City and other centers of Black thought. And then also, you know, what's happening when they are in various countries like Senegal or Martinique – not being a country, Martinique being part of France – and Césaire having a lot to do with that. Césaire has a lot to do with Martinique being a part of France despite being strongly anti-colonial in his writings. So how do you have a figure who rails against colonialism in his writings, but doesn't press for independence, rather presses for Martinique to become more fully a part of France? Those are just examples of some of the philosophical issues that are going to be in the background there, as we enter this age where independence is going to be a major question for the Caribbean and Africa, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and so on.


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