This is the seventh in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Falguni A. Sheth, an associate professor of philosophy and political theory at Hampshire College. She is the author of “Toward a Political Philosophy of Race.” — George Yancy
George Yancy and Falguni A. Sheth, The Stone / New York Times
Follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter.
Falguni A. Sheth
February 27, 2015 | George Yancy: Can you discuss your own view of your “racial” identity and how that identity is linked to your critical explorations into the philosophical and political significance of race?
Falguni A. Sheth: Until 2001, I thought of my identity in terms of ethnicity rather than race. I was an immigrant, and in the American imaginary, immigrants were rarely discussed in terms of race. After September 11, 2001, I tried to reconcile what I saw as the profound racist treatment of people (often Arabs and South Asians) who were perceived as Muslim, with a politically neutral understanding of “racial identity,” but it didn’t work. That’s when I began to explore race as a critical category of political philosophy, and as a product of political institutions. The biggest surprise was my coming to understand that “liberalism” and systematic racism were not antithetical, but inherently compatible, and that systemic racism was even necessary to liberalism. Soon after, I read Charles Mills’s “The Racial Contract,” which supported that view.
G.Y.: In what ways do you see liberalism and systemic racism as complementary?
The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.
George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at Duquesne University. He has written, edited and co-edited numerous books, including “Black Bodies, White Gazes,” “Look, a White!” and “Pursuing Trayvon Martin,” co-edited with Janine Jones.
Full story …
Part 6: Philosophy’s Lost Body and Soul
This is the sixth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for the Stone. This week’s conversation is with Linda Martín Alcoff, a professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She was the president of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, for 2012-13. She is the author of “Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self.”
Part 5: What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives Matter’?
This is the fifth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for the Stone. This week’s conversation is with Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the department of comparative literature and the program of critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of numerous influential books, including “Dispossession: The Performative in the Political,” which she co-authored with Athena Athanasiou. She will publish a book on public assemblies with Harvard University Press this year.
Part 4: Black Lives: Between Grief and Action
This is the fourth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for the Stone. This week’s conversation is with Joy James, a political philosopher who is a professor of the humanities and political science at Williams College. She is the author of “Seeking the Beloved Community: A Feminist Race Reader.”
Part 3: White Anxiety and the Futility of Black Hope
This is the third in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for the Stone. This week’s conversation is with Shannon Sullivan, a professor in the department of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is the author of “Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism.
Part 2: Lost in Rawlsland
This week’s conversation is with Charles Mills, the John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University and the author of several books, including the influential 1997 work “The Racial Contract.”
Part 1: What ‘White Privilege’ Really Means
This week’s conversation is with Naomi Zack, a professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon and the author of “The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality After the History of Philosophy.”