Professor Gordon to take up the Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship
University is thrilled and honoured to announce that Professor Lewis
Gordon, a leading figure in philosophy, will take up the prestigious
Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship in the Department of Politics &
International for 2014 and 2015.
Mandela Visiting Professorship was set up in 2012 with a view to
bringing world renowned scholars to Rhodes University. It will
alternate between people working in International Relations and
Mandela Visiting Professors teach a post-graduate course in each year
of their appointment and also give seminars and public lectures.
Nelson Mandela visiting Professor was Amitav Acharya.
impact on the department, the faculty and in some cases the
university as a whole has been phenomenal. It has really been very
good to have that kind of exposure to international scholars coming
here talking about their research,” says Dean of Humanities, Prof
He says so
far it has worked well and it’s been mutually beneficial. “It
worked well for us for getting international scholars and it has
worked well for them in getting the accolade of having been the
Nelson Mandela Chair,” he added.
Gordon, Prof Hendricks says “Lewis is a distinguished leftist
scholar and very well known for his work on Frantz Fanon and more
generally on his work on Universities, race and all the issues that
are confronting us.”
Prof Hendricks, Prof Gordon has made a major contribution to these
issues globally and he is an internationally recognised scholar.
have someone of that calibre within our midst raises the bar within
the faculty. You got the prospects of postgraduate and undergraduate
students being exposed to somebody of that calibre and testing their
own ideas against somebody like that who can then guide them,” says
is honoured by this appointment “while humbled by the task of
bringing justice to its namesake, especially during such a crossroads
in his life, and the country we both love.”
Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship, as I see it, is a national
professorship since its namesake embodies the spirit of the nation,
its aspirations and its sense of character. That Mandela
cannot—indeed, could not—be everything for the nation is a
reminder of there being much to do, much to learn, much to figure
out,” says Prof Gordon.
is one of the principles of research and scholarship, and with the
name of such an historic public figure behind it. It is also a
reminder of the value of knowledge for the public good. These
include inquiries into questions of justice and the struggles
emerging where justice is simply not enough in the Global arena.
It is thus also a world professorship since everyone understands the
significance of Nelson Mandela.”
namesake of this appointment exemplifies the important meeting of
knowledge and courage in the form of action. It reminds us of
the importance of public commitment and what it means to attempt to
make human institutions humane,” added Prof Gordon.
for Rhodes University with an association with a world renowned
scholar and exceptionally gifted teacher are obvious. Prof Gordon
brings particular value to the university in that he has been at the
forefront of serious thinking and institution building aimed at, in
the slogan of the Caribbean Philosophy Association, “shifting the
geography of reason”.
aspirations of this University to think about transformation in terms
of research and curriculum, there are tremendous benefits in having
an ongoing association with a world leader in de-colonial thought
with impressive expertise on contemporary thought in Latin American,
the Caribbean, the US and Europe as well as Africa.
visited Rhodes in 2011 and 2012, and, on both occasions, graciously
agreed to stay on after the main events for which he had been invited
to run week long workshops with graduate students in the Department
of Politics and International Relations. He is a remarkable teacher
and our students were left hugely excited and motivated by the
experience of working closely with Prof Gordon over a week.
teaches in the Department of Philosophy and the Institute for African
American Studies, with affiliation in Judaic Studies, at the
University of Connecticut at Storrs. He previously taught at Temple
University, where he was a Laura H.
Professor of Philosophy and founder and director of the Center for
Afro-Jewish Studies and the Institute for the Study of Race and
Social Thought; Brown University, where he was the founding
chairperson of the Department of Africana Studies; and Purdue
University, where he commenced his career in 1993 in the Department
of Philosophy and the Program in African American Studies.
has held several distinguished visiting appointments and is currently
Visiting Professor in the French-German Summer School at the
University of Toulouse, France. He received his B.A. in philosophy
and political science through the Lehman Scholars Program at Lehman
College of the City University of New York in 1984, an M.A. and M.
Phil., in philosophy at Yale University in 1991, and his PhD in
philosophy, with distinction, from Yale in 1993