Winter Quarter 2023
- PHL 657 Graduate Seminar in Social And Political Thought: Wynter and The German Secularization Debate
- This course will focus on the decolonial critique of modernity. After a brief general introduction to decolonial thinking, we will turn to the work of the Afro-Caribbean critic Sylvia Wynter, who has put forth a powerful decolonial critique of the philosophical discourse of modernity. More specifically, we will explore how such decolonial critique problematizes the secularity of modernity, which is to say, the triangulation between politics, religion, and secularization as the hallmark of modernity. For this reason, the course will also dedicate an equally serious attention to three European (German, to be specific) figures who have addressed such triangulation: Karl Löwith, Hans Blumenberg, and Carl Schmitt. The second half of the course will, therefore, be a comparative (North-South) exercise that puts these four figures into a much-needed conversation on what for short could be called “the politico-theological.”
Spring Quarter 2023
- HON 105 Philosophical Inquiry: Philosophy and Race
- See description below.
- HON 203 Seminar in Multiculturalism: What is “Latin” about Latin America?
- This course critically investigates the social, political, and cultural meaning of “Latin America.” We will start by studying the world-historical events that led to the development of a specifically “Latin” America. This is a story of colonization and imperial domination that dates back to the year 1492, as well as one of racial and nationalist ideologies. We will examine both contemporary scholarship and primary historical texts from the 19th and 20th centuries. The course will conclude with an exploration of alternative articulations of latinidad that aim to overcome its racist and colonialist origins. Some topics that we will discuss are: the influence of colonization in the creation of cultural differences, white supremacy, anti-blackness, indigeneity, racial mixture, decolonization, ethnicity, nationality, and more. Instruction will consist of classroom discussions with limited lecturing.
- Spring 2022: Decoloniality and Heretical Marxisms: Towards a Postsecular Philosophy of Religion.
- Spring 2021: Decoloniality, Wynter, and the Aporia of the Secular.
This seminar is an overview of the Latin American philosophical movement known as “liberation philosophy.” This is a movement that emerged in Argentina in the early 1970’s, both as a theoretical answer to the question “What is Latin American philosophy?” and a practical response to rise of dictatorial politics in the continent. While inclusive of thinkers such as Juan Carlos Scannone, Rodolfo Kusch, Horacio Cerutti, Arturo Roig, among others, this seminar focuses on the main exponent of liberation philosophy: Enrique Dussel. The first half of the course will offer a brief overview of this movement and Dussel’s life work, as well as an examination of the imperial and colonial legacies of “Latin America” and “modernity.” These analyses will set the stage for the second half of the course, an in-depth reading of one of Dussel’s most important works, The Philosophy of Liberation – paying attention to the feminist criticisms of such approach. We will conclude by arriving at the present stage of liberation philosophy: the articulation of global South-South inter-cultural dialogues towards the overcoming of modernity/coloniality. Instruction will consist of lectures and classroom discussion.
Philosophy and Race
This course introduces students to philosophical approaches to the study of race, taking philosophy to be a liberatory grasp of the world – and not merely the thinking of ideas. We will start, however, by first attaining a solid historical foundation regarding the religious and colonial roots of the idea and reality of race and its corollary: racism. From there, we will explore three distinct though overlapping philosophical approaches to race: social and political philosophy in the contractarian tradition, phenomenology, and existentialism. Some major topics that we will discuss are racism, white supremacy, diversity, inclusion, whiteness, anti-blackness, racial justice, and more. Instruction will consist mainly of classroom discussions with limited lecturing.
French Existentialism in a Historical Context
This course is an introduction to existentialism through a study of its historical foundations and principal exponents. We will start with a historical grounding in the works of Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Martin Heidegger, all of whom were influential sources in what would go on to become 20th century existential philosophy. In the remaining part of the course, we will explore the work of three leading existential philosophers: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon. Our analysis will center on some of the principal concepts of existential philosophy, such as freedom, meaninglessness, alienation, authenticity, faith, and death. Instruction will consist of lectures and classroom discussion.
See a sample of creative final projects for my HON 105 course “Philosophy of Race” here.