Texas Tech University

Philosophy Talks 2018-19

Fall 2018 Speaker Series

Chike Jeffers (Dalhousie University)

Public Colloquium: Du Bois on Art, Morality, and Truth
Thursday, November 1st, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Location TBA

Abstract: W.E.B. Du Bois' 1926 essay "Criteria of Negro Art" is a sophisticated
philosophical reflection on the artistic phenomenon known as the
Harlem Renaissance from the time of its flowering. It is remembered
often for its bold claim that "all Art is propaganda and ever must be,
despite the wailing of the purists." Many recoil at what they take to
be the subordination of art to political purposes in this phrase. I
will argue that Du Bois, in fact, offers us a very defensible and not
overly restrictive picture of the relationship between art, morality,
and truth.

Department Colloquium: Race and Egalitarianism in Du Bois' Darkwater
Friday, November 2nd, 4:00-6:00 pm
ENG/PHIL 264

Abstract: W.E.B. Du Bois' 1920 book Darkwater has not received as much attention
as his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk but is a philosophically rich
work that rewards study. This paper will explore how its approach to
racial difference relates to its affirmations of human equality. After
explaining how the book's prefatory "Postscript" can be read as a kind
of manifesto for Africana philosophy, I identify its essays, which
defend the value of equality in relation to politics, economics,
gender, education, and other subjects, as representative of an
egalitarian turn in Du Bois' thought. I then turn to examine Du Bois'
attack on white supremacy in the chapter entitled "The Souls of White
Folk," explaining how it aims to decenter whiteness in order to
dethrone it. Finally, I discuss how Du Bois centers blackness
elsewhere in the book, not in order to enthrone it but to foreground
it in a manner that advances his overall egalitarian project.

Department of Philosophy