Spring 2023

Racial Justice and Injustice: Tommie Shelby’s Dark Ghettos

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-475


Rafeeq Hasan (Section 01)


Does philosophy have anything to contribute to the problem of deeply disadvantaged neighborhoods? Social scientists have long studied concentrations of poverty and racial segregation in the United States. Drawing on this body of literature, Tommie Shelby’s book, Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform (Harvard, 2016), asks: What is racial justice and what does it demand with respect to the urban poor? We will engage Shelby’s arguments as a way of thinking more broadly about racism. Difficult questions of political morality will be central to our discussions. Should governments integrate neighborhoods? Is crime ever justified? Do the oppressed have duties to help overthrow their own oppression?  Alongside Dark Ghettos we will read key sources for Shelby’s thinking, including sociological work on race and racism, as well as classics of political thought in the Black radical, Marxist, and liberal egalitarian traditions. Students will actively participate in discussion with four visiting speakers over the course of the term about their recent work on racial justice and injustice: Myisha Cherry, Erin Kelly, Vanessa Wills, and Tommie Shelby himself.

Requisite: Two courses in PHIL or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Hasan.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will be given to majors, seniors, then juniors, etc.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, group work.

PHIL 475 - LEC

Section 01
Th 2:30 PM - 5:15 PM COOP 201


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023