Lecture by Professor Tommy J. Curry (University of Edinburgh) Saturday, 27 April at 16:00 in Dar al Janub – Dehmelgasse 1, 1160 Vienna

As global genocides, pogroms, and lynchings are live broadcasted into the comfortable living rooms of Western “civil” society, we must confront the question:

Why does nearly every philosophy, ideology, school of thought, or movement in the privileged North seem to have a ready-made justification that shifts blame onto parts of the bombed and plundered societies in the Global South?

This framing of colonized societies as aggressors or perpetrators extends beyond the lines of radical identity politics as it is reproduced across class, gender, and even among those who identify as “people of color.” It serves imperial entities in justifying imperiast warfare and state terror, and is not a new phenomenon. A central tenet of Western propaganda, which justified the genocidal project of the “War on Terror” in recent decades, was the purported aim of protecting and liberating women. We want to explore why this kind of neo-colonial warmongering finds such quick approval in the liberal and left circles of western societies. Why do the contradictions inherent in gender and intersectionality narratives, shaped by neoliberal understanding of our societies, remain unacknowledged, and are instead being utilized to justify political agendas of war and destruction?

To understand how pseudo-feminist concepts are instrumentalized to uphold systems of oppression, we revisit the slaveholder society of the USA. White class collaboration alone could not sustain the enslavement of black people; it required the integration of white women as slaveholders who gained societal power. When black people pushed for self-determination in the 1970s, black organizing was corrupted and depoliticized, in part, by the integration of feminists of color into the white academic system that has long served to perpetuate white supremacy. What was masked as a progressive push in academia, was co-opted to construct an academic framework of black men as the threat and oppressor of black women. Consequently, white supremacy continues to cause systematic social killing, persecution, and exploitation of black men and women, while alienating and erasing their shared history of enslavement, rape, and torture at the hands of white supremacy.

It is a great honour for us to have Professor Tommy J. Curry, who comes from a Black Radical History, with us in Vienna to accompany us on this journey with his expertise and provide clarity in times of efficient counterinsurgency and pseudo-progressive trends in activism. With his book “The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood,” he won the American Book Award in 2018. 


Tommy J. Curry joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Edinburgh in the Fall of 2019. His research interests are in Africana Philosophy and the Black Radical Tradition. His areas of specialization are: 19th century ethnology, Critical Race Theory, Social Political Theory, and Black Male Studies. He is the author of The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood (Temple University Press 2017), which won the 2018 American Book Award. He is the author of Another white Man’s Burden: Josiah Royce’s Quest for a Philosophy of Racial Empire (SUNY Press 2018), and has re-published the forgotten philosophical works of William Ferris as The Philosophical Treatise of William H. Ferris: Selected Readings from The African Abroad or, His Evolution in Western Civilization (Rowman & Littlefield 2016). He is also the editor of the first book series dedicated to the study of Black males entitled Black Male Studies: A Series Exploring the Paradoxes of Racially Subjugated Males on Temple University Press. Dr. Curry is currently co-editing (with Daw-nay Evans) the forthcoming anthology Contemporary African American Philosophy: Where Do We Go from Here on Bloomsbury Publishing (2019). His research has been recognized by Diverse as placing him among the Top 15 Emerging Scholars in the United States in 2018, and his public intellectual work earned him the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy’s Alain Locke Award in 2017. He is a past recipient of the USC Shoah Foundation and A.I. and Manet Schepps Foundation Teaching Fellowship (2017), and the past president of Philosophy Born of Struggle, one of the oldest Black philosophy organizations in the United States.

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