Africana Philosophy: The Development of the Discipline in the United States (May 2017)

This essay first appeared in the May issue of Choice (volume 54 | issue 9).


The term “Africana philosophy” references any number of perspectives, critiques, and political theories concerning the life, experiences, and historical struggles of black people—the descendants of Africa. Africana philosophy is a diverse field of thinking, vastly interdisciplinary, and at its best is able to synthesize the findings of multiple empirical fields like history or sociology into explanative theories. The history of “Africana philosophy” is marked by contestation. The first reference to the philosophy of black people appeared in the early 1970s; referred to as black philosophy in the American Philosophy Association proceedings, it primarily focused on the United States. By the 1980s,…

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About the author:

Tommy J. Curry is professor of philosophy and Africana studies at Texas A&M University, and he is president of Philosophy Born of Struggle, one of the oldest black philosophy organizations in the United States. He has written extensively on racism, critical race theory, hip-hop, and black male vulnerability.