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Black europeans intellectual history: perspectives from philosophical traditions

Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze

Though currently teaching at a university in the United States, Europe has been the cultural and regional focus of my research in black atlantic studies. Within broad areas of cultural studies of black historical presence and contemporary experiences in Europe, my research focuses on European philosophical theories of black diaspora experiences and on black European traditions in intellectual history.
In particular, I specialize in 18th and 19th century philosophical theories of black European experiences. Using the prisms of both “race” and culture, I have published books and articles with titles such as: Race and the Enlightenment (Blackwell: 1997), “The Color of Reason: The Idea of ‘Race’ in Kant’s Anthropology” (Bucknell Review: 1994), and Postcolonial African Philosophy: A Critical Reader (Blackwell: 1998). Questions about national identity, modern and postmodern culture, and postcolonial experiences in Afro-European thought are the main themes of my research and teaching.

I am currently employed as tenured Associate Professor at DePaul University’s Department of Philosophy, with formal affiliation to the university’s Program of African and Black Diaspora Studies. In the next two years, my research project is investigation of philosophic and cultural exchanges between Africa, Germany, and the United States beginning in the early 19th to the late 20th centuries. Figures like Cuogano, Equiano, Amo, and Du Bois are some of the key figures in these exchanges. My goal is to determine both the points of ruptures and points of continuities between the early and late modern African and black European diaspora experiences on the one hand, and, on the other hand, current postcolonial and postmodern self-understandings of “native” black European populations within the contexts of questions arising from the idea of diversity in European cultural identities.

I plan to live in Berlin during the 2006-2007 academic year in other to pursue this pan-European research program on black European modernity and postmodernity. The questions I will research and write about while in Berlin can be interdisciplinarily classified as: philosophy of cultures (modern and postmodern); cultural studies; intellectual history; and critical race and social theories.

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