A pioneer in the academic study of African American philosophy with his groundbreaking Philosophy Born of Struggle and The Philosophy of Alain Locke, Harris continues to be at the forefront of building bridges across the full spectrum of Africana thought through the work he has done for UNESCO and the Philosophy Born of Struggle Society. The Awards Committee noted his philosophy of insurrectionist ethics, his critical challenges to American philosophy, and his important mentorship of several generations of scholars. Africana philosophy (all fields), Caribbean thought, Latin American philosophy, and cross-racial work in feminist philosophy would not be what they are without the important foundations Harris set for their development. Says Jane Anna Gordon, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association: “Philosophy Born of Struggle is the precursor to what the Caribbean Philosophical Association has built on. It made the clear case that in addition to doing scholarly research and writing demonstrating the theoretical insights emerging from political struggle, it is essential to build institutions that will nurture it. Professor Harris is a pioneer and consistent leader in that regard.”
JanMohamed is receiving this award because of his pioneering work on Frantz Fanon in the areas of postcolonial thought and cultural studies and for scholarship that connects Fanon’s ideas to such figures as Frederick Douglass and Toni Morrison and to his own groundbreaking insights on psychoanalysis and Marxism. Finally, his work as an institution builder, which includes being the founding editor of Cultural Critique, has opened intellectual spaces for generations of scholars. Says President Jane Anna Gordon, “Shifting the geography of reason includes rearticulating the predicaments out of which historic thought has emerged. Professor JanMohamed’s highly illuminating research into the subjective experiences not only of enslaved people but also those among them engaged in mothering is a prime example of such an important endeavor.”
The Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book in Caribbean Thought
According to the committee’s report: “Levinas and the Postcolonial is a work that takes Levinas scholarship out of its exclusive dialogue with other European philosophers and opens it up to new geographies of reason. Drabinski refers to this new exchange as the ‘decolonizing’ and ‘creolizing’ of Levinas. These two terms point to the profound influence of Frantz Fanon and Edouard Glissant, two postcolonial scholars from the Caribbean island of Martinique…. Also important in this conversation are the figures of Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha from India, and Subcomandante Marcos of Mexico. The combination reflects the creative synthesis of a book worthy of the Fanon Prize.”
For more information on the Frantz Fanon Prize, click here.
The Nicolás Guillén Lifetime Achievement Award for Philosophical Literature
Nugi wa Thiong’o is receiving this award because of the global importance of his work. According to the committee, which includes the novelists Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz, his contributions to literary theory, philosophy in literature, African letters, postcolonial criticism, and the struggle for human dignity stand among the best of the age. In the words of Jane Anna Gordon, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, “Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o exemplifies the intellectual and political boldness and courage we encourage and the attention to language and genre that is indispensible to shifting the geography of reason.”
Ekotto is receiving this award because of her contributions as a novelist, a theorist of race, sexuality, and criminality, along with her writings on existential themes emerging in the work of Lorraine Hansberry, Jean Genet, and struggles for human dignity, which stands among the best of the age. “Professor Ekotto,” adds Jane Anna Gordon, “exemplifies the transnational commitments of the Caribbean Philosophical Association as well as our commitments across multiple genres and disciplinary approaches. Professor Ekotto works brilliantly on women’s sexualities in the African context instead of through those imposed on it.”
The Nicolás Guillén Award for Outstanding Book in Philosophical Literature
The Awards Committee reports that this book “is a rich and compelling analysis of Anglophone Caribbean literature from multidisciplinary, multi-genre and multi-theoretical perspectives that include postcolonial literary theory, psychoanalysis, cultural studies theory, and transnational Caribbean feminist theory. True to the ethos of the Guillén Award for Philosophical Literature, this book broadens and problematizes the scope of Caribbean philosophy through its intersectional approach that subverts colonial and national binaries of the Caribbean as tropical paradise or ‘infernal stereotype.’”
For more information on the Nicolás Guillén awards, click here.
The two sets of awards will be conferred in a special session of the international conference of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, which will be held in conjunction with the meetings of the Simone de Beauvoir Society and the Jean-Paul Sartre Society. The meeting will take place June 19 to 21, 2014, in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information on the conference, click here.