Schoff Memorial Lecture Series, Lecture I
October 10 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
During the decade of the First World War (1910-1920), African American philosopher, W.E.B. Du Bois, argued that white supremacy functioned both domestically and internationally to thwart the democratic political aspirations of the earth’s “darker peoples,” thus intensifying their vulnerability to anti-black mob violence, race-based economic exploitation, and the devastation wrought by the war itself. During the same decade, Du Bois elaborated an aesthetics—a philosophy of beauty—that conceptualized beauty as a political force capable of supporting the struggle against white supremacy: of sustaining the moral resolve required to fight white supremacy and of undermining the grip of white supremacy on the individuals who perpetuated it. The central topic of my Schoff lectures is Du Bois’s turn to beauty as a weapon for defeating white supremacy and for fostering a more inclusive democratic citizenship.
Robert Gooding-Williams is the M. Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and Professor of Philosophy and of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism (Stanford, 2001), Look, A Negro!: Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture, and Politics (Routledge, 2005), and In The Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America (Harvard, 2009). Gooding-Williams was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018 and was 2020 Guggenheim Fellow.
Events are free and open to the public. Proof of vaccination required. Masking strongly encouraged.