In this episode, Olivia Branscum speaks with Phil Yaure – assistant professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech – about the political philosophy of Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born into slavery, but eventually became one of the most influential black abolitionists of the 19th century after escaping his enslaved condition and learning to read and write. Phil’s research focuses on Douglass as a political philosopher, with special concern for Douglass’s conception of the US constitution as an anti-slavery document and his belief that citizenship is a function of one’s contribution to a polity (in contrast to thinking of citizenship as a status that is conferred upon someone by the powers of the state). Phil argues that Douglass considers abolitionist resistance itself to be a way of contributing to American society, which leads to the conclusion that enslaved people fighting against the injustice of slavery make themselves American citizens in doing so. We also discuss the philosophical value of the autobiography genre, and Phil offers listeners some recommendations for where to begin if they want to incorporate Frederick Douglass into their history of philosophy courses.
Podcasting as Scholarship: A Conversation with Élaina Gauthier-Mamaril of the Philosophy Casting Call Podcast
In this special collaborative episode, Haley and Olivia speak with Élaina Gauthier-Mamaril, a philosopher and podcaster who produces and hosts the Philosophy Casting Call podcast. Philosophy Casting Call shines a spotlight on thinkers, topics, and themes that are underrepresented in academic philosophy, which listeners will recognize as a mission dear to our own podcast as well. We highly recommend giving Philosophy Casting Call (and Élaina’s other podcasts) a listen! While our conversation emphasizes the theme of podcasting as scholarship, we reflect on a range of topics throughout, including getting started in podcasting, the differences between general-audience podcasting and podcasting for scholarly audiences, how podcasting has changed our other work in philosophy, and how each of our podcast journeys brought us to where we are today!
In this episode, Haley Brennan speaks with Elliott Chen, New Narratives Post-Doc and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University starting Fall 2022, about his work on two early modern women philosophers of science: Émilie du Châtelet and Laura Bassi. We talk about du Châtelet’s arguments against essential gravity and Newtonian attraction, and Bassi’s experiments with electricity. We talk about why it is worth taking on projects on figures like Bassi, how you get going on this kind of project, and the variety of work you can do. This episode is the second in a series of interviews with New Narratives Postdocs, past and present.
In this episode, Haley Brennan speaks with Dalitso Ruwe, Assistant Professor of Black Political Thought at Queen’s University, about his project of locating and understanding genealogies of Black and African philosophy. We talk about 18th century ontological and Biblical arguments against slavery, the relationship between practical and intellectual revolutions, and what it means to disrupt a system. We also discuss the value of each person’s own philosophical genealogy, and how to find philosophical content in a text. This episode is the first of a series of interviews with New Narratives Postdocs, past and present.
In this episode, Haley Brennan talks with Kathryn Sophia Belle, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University and founder of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers, about Black Feminist critiques of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. We talk about her forthcoming book on the topic, with chapters on Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Maria Stewart, Anna Julia Cooper, and Audre Lorde among others. We also talk about the philosophical-historical origins of the concept of intersectionality and the triple oppression thesis, what it looks like to offer alternative accounts to Beauvoir’s, and creating the spaces and projects that you need in academic philosophy.
In this episode, Olivia Branscum speaks with Nic Bommarito, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University. We discuss the French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943), focusing especially on what she has to teach us about the moral value of attention and the true uses of education. Nic and I also talk about his work in Tibetan Buddhist thought and his experiences studying figures and traditions that have been excluded from mainstream histories of philosophy.
In this episode, Olivia Branscum speaks with Nastassja Pugliese, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. We talk about the life, work, and reception of the nineteenth-century Brazilian philosopher, Nísia Floresta Brasileira Augusta (born Dionísia Gonçalves Pinto in 1810). Nastassja and I talk about Nísia’s philosophy of education, her enlightenment critique of slavery and colonialism, and the common misconception that Nísia translated the work of Mary Wollstonecraft. Though only one of Nísia’s essays has been translated into English, listeners can find some of her writings in French and Italian, and should keep an eye out for Nastassja’s forthcoming introduction to Nísia with Cambridge University Press.
In this episode, Haley Brennan talks with Alison Stone, professor in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. We discuss the work of British women philosophers of the 19th century, including Frances Power Cobbe, Ada Lovelace, and Harriet Martineau. We cover a range of topics that these philosophers worked on, including animal rights, feminism, ethics, and philosophy of mind. In addition to these topics, we talk about the correspondence that these woman had with each other, the influence they had on political movements in 19thc Britain, and where and how to look to find the philosophical writings of women in the period. We also discuss the way that perceived philosophical importance and impact varies across time and place, and how this affects which philosophers we research and teach today.
In this episode, Olivia Branscum speaks with Professor Gary Ostertag, Affiliated Associate Professor at the City University of New York and Chair of the philosophy department at Nassau Community College. We discuss the life, context, and achievements of Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones, an early analytic philosopher who was working at the same time as people like Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. Gary and Olivia also talk about the positive philosophical value of writing about other people’s ideas, and the question of what it means to point out that Jones may have anticipated the work of Frege. Gary closes by offering some suggestions for where to start with reading Jones’s work.
Petru Rosu provided research for this episode.
In this episode, Haley Brennan talks with Chike Jeffers, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dalhousie University and Canada Research Chair in Africana Philosophy, about the history of Africana Philosophy. We talk about the work of, and what it is like to work on, figures including Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B Du Bois, Edward Blyden, and Léopold Senghor. In the course of talking about these figures, we discuss the value of language to philosophy, identity, and culture, connections between the Africana tradition and current philosophical theories of race and oppression, the importance of being critical about why and how philosophical methods are appropriate for evaluating these texts, and what it means to read someone as a philosopher.