In this episode, Haley Brennan talks with Kathryn Sophia Belle, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University and founder of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers, about Black Feminist critiques of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. We talk about her upcoming book on the topic, with chapters on Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Maria Stewart, Anna Julia Cooper, and Audre Lorde among others. We also talk about the philosophical-historical origins of the concept of intersectionality and the triple oppression thesis, what it looks like to offer alternative accounts to Beauvoir’s, and creating the spaces and projects that you need in academic philosophy.
Kathryn Sophia Belle, “Interlocking, Intersecting, and Intermeshing: Critical Engagements with Black and Latina Feminist Paradigms of Identity and Oppression” in Critical Philosophy of Race, Vol. 8, Nos 1-2, 2020, pages 165-198.
Kathryn Sophia Belle, “Maria Stewart (August 20, 1829 – August 19, 1834)” in 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain (Random House).
Kathryn Sophia Belle, “Being a Black Woman Philosopher: Reflections on Founding the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers” in Hypatia, Volume 26, Issue 2, Spring 2011, pages 429-437.
Claudia Jones, “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of Negro Women” (1949).
Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South (1892).
bell hooks, “True Philosophers: Beauvoir and bell”, in Beauvoir and Western Thought from Plato to Butler, edited by Shannon M. Mussett and William S. Wilkerson (2012).
Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought, edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftal (1995).
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower. Grand Central Publishing: 1993.
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents. Grand Central Publishing: 1998.
Elizabeth Spelman, Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought (1988).
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949).
Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” 1984. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Ed. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press. 110- 114. 2007
In this episode, Haley Brennan talks with Chike Jeffers, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dalhousie University and Canada Research Chair in Africana Philosophy, about the history of Africana Philosophy. We talk about the work of, and what it is like to work on, figures including Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B Du Bois, Edward Blyden, and Léopold Senghor. In the course of talking about these figures, we discuss the value of language to philosophy, identity, and culture, connections between the Africana tradition and current philosophical theories of race and oppression, the importance of being critical about why and how philosophical methods are appropriate for evaluating these texts, and what it means to read someone as a philosopher.
Selina Wang provided research for this episode.
To listen to this episode go to our podcast page.
Works Mentioned in the Episode
Unless otherwise specified, all works listed are in the public domain and are available free online.
Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South.
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk.
Edward Blyden, “The Origin and Purpose of African Colonization.”
Chike Jeffers, “Embodying Justice in Ancient Egypt: The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant as a Classic of Political Philosophy.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 421-442: 2013.
African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations, edited by George Yancy. New York: Routledge: 1998.
Listening to Ourselves: A Multilingual Anthology of African Philosophy, edited by Chike Jeffers. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013.
Souleymane Bachir Diagne, African Art as Philosophy: Senghor, Bashir, and the Art of Negritude (Translated by Chike Jeffers). New York: Seagull Press, 2011.
Further Reading and References
Chike Jeffers, “Anna Julia Cooper and the Black Gift Thesis.” History of Philosophy Quarterly, 79-97: 2016.
——, “Rights, Race, and the Beginnings of Modern African Philosophy.” In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race.
History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps Africana Philosophy Series:
Olivia Branscum is a PhD student in Philosophy at Columbia University. She is co-producer of the ENN New Voices podcast