about

John E. Drabinski

I am Charles Hamilton Houston 1915 Professor of Black Studies in the Department of Black Studies at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. I blog here as a free writing space for ongoing projects, as well as work periodically with other writers on cultural and political issues.

I teach widely in the Caribbean and African-American intellectual traditions, with special emphasis on francophone critical theory (see my courses Marvelous BlacknessBlack Existentialism, and The Afro-Postmodern). As well, I am interested in Paul Gilroy’s work (see the course Theorizing the Black Atlantic) as a way of thinking about transnational cultural contact and cultural production in the African diaspora. Courses on Du Bois and African-American philosophy more broadly reflect my concern with the specifically African-American voice in the Africana intellectual tradition. My orientation is resolutely philosophical, in part because that is my character as a thinker and person, but more emphatically because I think it is important to attend to the unique philosophical voice in African-American and Caribbean intellectual life.

In addition to over three dozen essays in European and Africana critical theory, I have published Sensibility and Singularity (SUNY 2001), Godard Between Identity and Difference (Continuum 2008), and Levinas and the Postcolonial: Race, Nation, Other (Edinburgh 2011, received Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book in Caribbean Thought). I am also editor (with Eric S. Nelson) of Between Levinas and Heidegger (SUNY 2014), an issue of Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy on Godard and Philosophy (2010), an issue of The C.L.R. James Journal (with Marisa Parham) on Édouard Glissant (2014), and (with Jill Stauffer, Ozlem Biner, and Sharika Thiranagama) a special double issue of Humanity on reconciliation. My current research includes a recently completed manuscript entitled Abyssal Beginnings: Glissant, Philosophy, and the Middle Passage and the beginnings of a book-length study of James Baldwin and black Atlantic critical theory. Scott Davidson and I are co-editors of the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy.

I regularly upload syllabi, drafts of conference papers, and essays intended for publication to my academia.edu page. A longer narrative of my interests and intellectual development is under the Research tab above.

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