SPAH Seminar Series, Week 6: Professor Tommy Curry, University of Edinburgh

Decolonizing the Intersection: Black Male Studies as a Critique of Intersectionality's Indebtedness to Subculture of Violence Theory

  • Thu 12 Nov 20

    15:00 - 17:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Professor Tommy Curry, University of Edinburgh

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    SPAH Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Philosophy and Art History, School of

  • Contact details

    Hannah Whiting, SPAH School Manager

The Philosophy and Art History Research Seminar meets weekly in term on Thursday afternoons to discuss a paper by a visiting philosopher, art historian, or a member of our academic staff.

Tommy J. Curry is a Professor of Philosophy and holds the Personal Chair of Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are 19th century ethnology, Critical Race Theory & 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 an American Book Award in 2018,  and Another white Man’s Burden: Josiah Royce’s Quest for a Philosophy of Racial Empire (SUNY Press 2018), which recently won the Josiah Royce Prize for American Idealist Thought. He has also 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). In 2019 he became 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’s 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 the past president of Philosophy Born of Struggle, one of the oldest Black philosophy organizations in the United States.  

Intersectionality has utilized various feminist theories that continue subculture of violence thinking about Black men and boys. While intersectional feminists often claim that intersectionality leads to a clearer social analysis of power and hierarchies throughout society and within groups, the categories and claims of intersectionality fail to distinguish themselves from previously racist theories that sought to explain race, class, and gender, based on subcultural values. This article is the first to interrogate the theories used to construct the gendered categories and the assumptions behind Black male positionality under intersectional analyses.  Contrary to its promises for more liberated Black identities, intersectionality merely replicates the pseudo-science of racist criminology and presents decades old theories as cutting-edge gender analyses. In short, while intersectionality has allowed Black women to create nuanced experiences and epistemological accounts of Black womanhood, the very same theory has confined Black male experience to the perpetration of violence and defined Black manhood as lesser—merely the exemplification of white masculinity’s pathological excess. 

To join us on Zoom for this seminar, please email Hannah Whiting for the link.

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