A People's History of Philosophy: The Development and Ideological Segregation of Black Nationalism
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The primary objective of this thesis is to advocate for Black Nationalism's full inclusion in the academic field of political philosophy. By bringing the thinkers in the Black Nationalist tradition into this discourse, the field of philosophy stands to gain important insight into the prejudices and unexamined assumptions that plague academia. I will flesh out the nature of these assumptions using the works of Black Nationalists like Angela Davis, George Jackson and Joy James. This will show that reading Black Nationalists as social theorists enables philosophers to unveil sources of knowledge about political economies by looking at the history of imperialism in a comprehensive manner. The second section is devoted to an examination of how the Black Panther Party's relationship to the state reveals the role of white violence in maintaining racial hierarchies. That the Black Panthers were targeted so systematically by the state indicates that they were perceived to be a threat to the white power structure, which gives us insight into how challenging state terror is a revolutionary act in intellectual and concrete ways. I show that the mainstream academic discourse on racism in American society assigns higher credibility to white philosophers even when Black thinkers have been producing relevant scholarship for centuries on the subject in question. The third section examines the philosophy of the Enlightenment in terms of how it relates to the domestic colonization of African Americans and to the abuse of people of color around the globe by European and American imperialists. The purpose of this section is to show how scholars' confidence in white canonized philosophers predisposes them to overlook Enlightenment philosophy's structurally racist approach to political societies. The fourth section provides a detailed overview of the key principles in Anti-Colonial and Critical Race Theory as they intersect with Black Nationalism. Important issues addressed in this section include the role of prisons in keeping African Americans in a state of neo-slavery. In order to situate Black Nationalist thought within a broader intellectual history, I will discuss how Black Nationalism represents the culmination of radical American and Anti-Colonial political theory.
Critical Race Theory
Bohr, Judith Colleen (2011). A People's History of Philosophy: The Development and Ideological Segregation of Black Nationalism. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from