Faculty

Heather Battaly: Templeton/Applied Research on Intellectual Humility

Heather Battaly

Congratulations to Professor Heather Battaly, one of the Principal Investigators on a $6.6 Million grant that supports Applied Research on Intellectual Humility, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Center for Stress, Trauma, and Resilience at Georgia State University. The request for proposals can be found below. The deadline for letters of intent is January 15, 2023. Interdisciplinary empirical proposals that address the facilitation of Intellectual Humility are encouraged.


Request for Proposals

Lewis Gordon: Seminary Co-Op Book for 2022

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Congratulations to Professor and Department Head Lewis Gordon‘s, whose book Fear of Black Consciousness has been chosen as one of the Seminary Co-Op Notable books for 2022!

Now in its seventh year, the Seminary Co-op Notables list celebrates the books published in 2022 that helped define scholarship and inquiry. With the release of this annual list, it continues to advocate for the increased visibility of the crucial work of serious presses and authors and aims to invigorate and inspires readers.

Lewis Gordon: Interview with Tavis Smiley

Why does Black consciousness pose such a threat to racist power structures?

 

In his celebrated book Fear of Black Consciousness, Professor, Head of the Philosophy Department at UConn, and leading philosopher Lewis Gordon answers this question while unpacking “the historical development of racialized Blackness, the problems this kind of consciousness produces, and the many creative responses from Black and non-Black communities in contemporary struggles for dignity and freedom.” He joins Tavis for a conversation centered around his latest text.

 

"The Tavis Smiley Podcast" airs on weekdays 9 AM - 12 N

Insightful conversations with thought leaders, opinion makers, celebrities, authors and artists. Plus, socially conscious commentary that challenges listeners to re-examine the assumptions they hold, and expand their inventory of ideas.

 

One of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People In The World,” Smiley has interviewed a veritable who’s who list of influencers, has penned multiple New York Times Bestselling books, and has already been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Listen on Spotify

Lewis Gordon: Best Philosophy Books for Beginners

Check out Professor and Department Head Lewis Gordon’s picks for the best philosophy books for beginners!

“Why create a reading list of the best philosophy books for beginners? Well, Bertrand Russell once said that ‘science is what you know, philosophy is what you don’t know’, and when it comes to philosophy – I don’t know nearly enough. The vastness and occasional intangibility of the subject can make it feel inaccessible for novices. Like trying to find the end of a piece of sellotape, it can be frustrating to know where to start. In situations like this, there is only one thing you can do – ask the experts what they’d recommend as philosophy books for beginners. Luckily for me, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some of the world’s finest philosophical minds.”

-Phil Treagus Evans, “Philosophy Books for Beginners”

Hady Ba and Thomas Meagher: Blog of the APA

Please take a moment to check out two amazing pieces from members of our UConn community on the Blog of the APA: an essay written by visiting scholar Dr. Mouhamadou El Hady Ba, and a piece by UConn Philosophy alumnus Thomas Meagher. Congratulations!

"Reports from Abroad: Dr. Mouhamadou El Hady Ba"

African endogenous systems of knowledge—embedded inside a metaphysical explanation of life and the universe—were transmitted via secret societies and myths. I argue that our abandonment of that metaphysical framework used to produce and justify knowledge shouldn’t compel us to deem that knowledge irrational. Conversely, re-discovering this endogenous knowledge does not require us to uncritically accept its metaphysical or even epistemological underpinning. I am increasingly convinced that an epistemological study of local knowledge could uncover useful discoveries. For example, there is a wealth of knowledge being lost about the use of local plants like neem (azadirachta indica), niprisan, or aloe ferox to cure or prevent health conditions as serious as cancer or sickle cell disease. An epistemological study of endogenous knowledge could kickstart a movement that would greatly enrich scientific domains like pharmacology or ecology. Trying to make sense of local knowledge in discussions with colleagues who, on ideological bases, promoted all things African helped me see that, if we keep the right distance, we can bring these traditions and their contents into conversation with the scientific realm with a continued critical eye. I think I would never have become open to endogenous systems of knowledge if I hadn’t returned to Senegal where I have been able to participate in local epistemological and philosophical discussions.

Read the full blog post here

 

"Sylvia Wynter and the Concept of the Homocene" by Dr. Thomas Meagher

How do these categories of Anthropocene and Capitalocene relate to our initial categories of causal and existential responsibility? In implicating human agency as a causal factor in the destruction of the planet, each seems to evoke existential responsibility. Yet as plain statements of fact, these conceptions begin with the matter of causal responsibility. The Anthropocene is defined by human agency as cause of climatic transformation. The Capitalocene is put forth as an alternative naming of a particular human orientation, toward the functional rule of the owners of wealth that produces wealth, as the predominant cause of such transformation. It is only if one takes these terms as implicating oneself that they entail existential responsibility.

Read the full blog post here

 

Nelson Maldonado-Torres: Sobre a Colonialidade doSer and El Mostrador

Please check out two new items from Professor Nelson Maldonado-Torres: a new translation of his writings in Portuguese, and a reference to his work in El Mostrador, a Chilean newspaper.

Congratulations, Nelson!

Sobre a Colonialidade do Ser (On the Coloniality of Being)

About the coloniality of being is a text written with the blood of the victims of coloniality, historical logos that had been established since the colonization started in 1492, with the violent creation – and not innocent discovery – of the New World. Unlike many European and Eurocentric narratives about the genesis of modernity and its main characteristics, Maldonado-Torres takes into account the idea present in many decolonial studies, according to which modernity is born with coloniality and, therefore, it is necessary to talk about modernity-coloniality, to make it clear that coloniality is not a side effect of modernity, something that could be fixed or uprooted without calling into question the essence of modernity. Rather, coloniality is the lifeblood of modernity, statement that confronts Europe's boastful ways of understanding the modernity of its history. For this reason, the Cartesian cogito is not the striking sign of the origin of modernity, a kind of immobile engine or axial point moving all the tradition founded by it. As Enrique Dussel showed, the ego conquers (the I conquer) is the condition of possibility of Descartes' own thought, which is why modernity is marked by political-economic-epistemological relations of domination and subjection of non-Europe by Europe.

Purchase the book in Portuguese here

El Mostrador

"Alexander Ortiz Ocaña and Decolonialism"

*Excerpt*

Throughout the history of the human and social sciences there have been several turns, such as the linguistic turn, the hermeneutical turn, the phenomenological turn, the configurative turn, the socio-critical turn. Following that same logic, the Puerto Rican philosopher Nelson Maldonado Torres coined the term 'decolonial turn', which has been followed by many authors of our America, including us.

The decolonial turn implies the search to start building knowledge from the particular context of each region, from conceptualized and situated knowledge, looking at ourselves and without the need to import knowledge from other regions, other countries or other contexts

Read the full article here

Tracy Llanera: CLAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera, who has been awarded a CLAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant to support her work titled “Resilience: A Workshop for Women Doing Philosophy.” Dr. Llanera’s work has already inspired an intellectual movement in the South Pacific, in which Indigenous and other South Pacific women of color working in philosophy have created a Women Doing Philosophy group and project. The result is a series of influential journal articles, conferences, colloquia, and a proposed anthology on resilience. The proposal for the anthology has been enthusiastically received by the series editors for the Routledge-India series Academics, Politics and Society in the Post-Covid World.  

Ayanna De’Vante Spencer: me.too International Social and Political Framework

Assistant Professor Ayanna De’Vante Spencer and her collaborators launched the me.too International’s Social and Political Framework. As the original author of the first two versions and now a co-author, Dr. Spencer is very proud of this public philosophy for and with survivors, and the extraordinary team at me too International. Interested parties can view the framework here digitally before physical copies are available.

Lewis Gordon: Interview in Newsweek

Check out Professor and Department Head Lewis Gordon’s recent interview in Newsweek, “Kanye West Confused About Antisemitism and Racism, Professor Says.”

*Excerpt*

Gordon explained that “the nonracial interpretation of antisemitism doesn’t quite play out in practice, since people who hate Jews use all the logic of race and racism when speaking about Jews, and, internally to Jewish communities, one could be born Jewish (through a Jewish mother) and remain so even when, in some cases, one has converted to other religions.”

“So,” said Gordon, “the short answer is this: Wherever there is antisemitism, there is racism. Wherever there is racism, there is often antisemitism. But bear in mind, antisemitism is a species of racism.”