The eminent scholar Lewis R. Gordon offers a probing meditation on freedom, justice, and decolonization. What is there to be understood and done when it is evident that the search for justice, which dominates social and political philosophy of the North, is an insufficient approach for the achievements of dignity, freedom, liberation, and revolution? Gordon takes the reader on a journey as he interrogates a trail from colonized philosophy to re-imagining liberation and revolution to critical challenges raised by Afropessimism, theodicy, and looming catastrophe. He offers not forecast and foreclosure but instead an urgent call for dignifying and urgent acts of political commitment. Such movements take the form of examining what philosophy means in Africana philosophy, liberation in decolonial thought, the unshackling of political philosophy from the liberal moral theory setting the stage for the decolonization of justice and normative life, unleashing the obstacles to cultivating emancipatory politics, challenging reductionist forms of thought that proffer harm and suffering as conditions of political appearance and the valorization of nonhuman being. He asserts instead emancipatory considerations for occluded forms of life and the irreplaceability of existence in the face of catastrophe and ruin, and he concludes, through a discussion with the Circassian philosopher and decolonial theorist, Madina Tlostanova, with the project of shifting the geography of reason.
Table of Contents
Preface, with acknowledgments
- On Philosophy, in Africana Philosophy
- Re-Imagining Liberation
- Toward the Decolonization of Normative Life
- Teleological Suspensions for Political Life
- Thoughts on Afropessimism
- Emancipatory Challenges of Blackness
- Disaster, Ruin, and Permanent Catastrophe
Epilogue: Conversation with Decolonial Philosopher Madina Tlostanova on Shifting the Geography of Reason
Lewis R. Gordon is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, USA. Honorary Professor in the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University in South Africa, and Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies. Gordon is the leading philosopher of Africana philosophy and Black existentialism, and the architect of postcolonial phenomenology, teleological suspensions of philosophy (philosophy beyond philosophy), shifting the geography of reason, Afri-Jewish thought, and critical work on bad faith and epistemic closure, in addition to work on the thought of W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, and Jean-Paul Sartre. He is the author of many books, including, under Routledge: Fanon and the Crisis of European Man; Existence in Black; Existentia Africana; Disciplinary Decadence; and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Not Only the Master’s Tools and Of Divine Warning. Gordon is also a musician and committed intellectual who performs a variety of music forms when he lectures across the globe and dedicates his time to political causes ranging from the quest for debt-free education and the transformation of schools and universities into emancipatory centers of learning to ground-level struggles for dignity and freedom among the dispossessed of the earth.