Thursday, April 17, 2008

For Next Week (All)

*Note: For PGCC students ("2215": M, 6 - 9pm), the following assignments are posted for you all to address after our class this coming Monday (4.21.08). Essentially, you all do not have to do any new readings for this coming Monday, other than what has already been assigned. Also, everyone's Final Research Project (FRP) drafts of section four (your philosophy) and section five (special topic) are due on (Monday or) Wednesday. (To lighten the workload, consider turning in section four on Monday and section five on Wednesday.) Imagine that you are "literally" writing both sections of your FRP, informed by my comments on your summaries and outlines and turn them in this coming (Monday or) Wednesday.

Week 12

Gathering Africana Philosophy

  • For Monday: Read “The Declaration of Independence” (1776) and Fredrick Douglass’s (1852) “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro."
  • For Wednesday: Read Booker T. Washington’s (1895) “Atlanta Compromise Speech;" read Marcus Garvey’s (1920) “Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World" (scroll down to bottom of webpage. Upon review of the latter Declaration, you will notice many references to the terror/ism of lynching/s in the U.S.: "17. Whereas, the lynching, by burning, hanging or any other disgrace to civilization, we therefore declare any country guilty of such atrocities outside the pale of civilization." For a visual representation of the horrors of that age, via pictures and commentaries of people being lynched, visit "Without Sanctuary" for further reference. Warning!, as one can imagine, the images at the former website are "outside the pale of civilization," and shock and awe the conscience. It is not required that anyone view the latter images! Yet, for those that are ready to move beyond the sanitized version of Western history, philosophy and "civilization," to understand the context under which a "philosophy born of struggle" emerged, do not hesitate to view the latter site for historical context.) Also, in the place of reading the former Declaration, you can watch one of the two documentaries on the praxis of Marcus Garvey below. The first, PBS's "Marcus Garvey: Look for me in the Whirlwind" (which lasts for 1hr and 20min) primarily focuses on what they believe did not work with his character and movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA); and the second (which starts at 1hr 2omin on the screen below, and lasts for about 1hr) focuses on what did work with his praxis, explicitly connecting him with African Independence struggles, Malcolm X and the black power movement:

  • For Friday: Read the NAACP’s biographical sketch of “W.E.B. DuBois” and his text on “The Talented Tenth." Turn in Outline/s (or Critique/s for extra credit and Outline credit), assessing the week’s texts.
At this point in the class, we are "gathering" (Outlaw) the principal texts in the Africana philosophy discourse. As we move forward, I want you all to be mindful of the following, as it pertains to understanding and interpreting the abovementioned texts, and beyond:
  1. We are developing Section three (The Emergence of Africana Philosophy) of your FRP.
  2. Africana philosophy is an axiological praxis, focused on social and political philosophy-- when it comes to MEAL. In this stream, texts within the Africana philosophy discourse are open to philosophical interpretation (privileging the social and political realities that inhere), as are many events in the social and political world. For example, take the tragedy of "9-11," 2001. As a point of fact, 9-11 is open to a variety of interpretations (readings). Philosophers can examine the definition/realities/consequences of terrorism/counter-terrorism; Economists can examine the economic impact of 9-11 and the Bush Administration's "war on terror" in Iraq, and beyond; Psychologists can examine the fear jointly produced by 9-11 and the "war on terror;" Sociologists can examine the structural conditions that inform terror/ism (i.e. Imperialism, colonial/military occupations, perceptions of injustice, nihilism...), etc. As we can see, events (texts) are open for a community of interpretations/readings.
  3. In light of the above, we will be examining the Africana world philosophically, via the rubric of Africana philosophy. IT'S ALL ABOUT PRAXIS!!! As such, when writing your outlines, in preparation for completing section three of your FRP, be sure to clearly locate/identify the praxis (social and political ideas/valuations and "corresponding" political practices/actions) of a given thinker. In other words, you have two tasks at hand for every text, (a) determine what kind of social, political and/or economic valuations/philosophies that are implicitly or explicitly being valued; and (b) determine what kind of social, political and/or economic practices that are implicitly or explicitly being proposed/implemented.
As we will see, beyond the gatherings/reflections of professional philosophers (Eze, Appiah, Outlaw, Harris, etc.), the actual Africana "philosophy born of struggle" (Harris), "at its best," has been rooted in word and (life-world changing, social/political/economic) deed.

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