education : reading : writing

Ph.D. University of Memphis (1996); A.B. Seattle University (1991)


Personal website and Twitter work


I teach widely in the Caribbean and African-American intellectual traditions, with special emphasis on francophone critical theory (see my courses Marvelous Blackness, Black Existentialism, Introduction to Postcolonial Theory, a seminar on Frantz Fanon, and The Afro-Postmodern) and various ways of thinking about transnational cultural contact and cultural production in the African diaspora. Courses in the African-American tradition include a seminar on James Baldwin, a shifting course entitled Introduction to African-American Philosophy, and a class on Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin.  My orientation is resolutely philosophical, in part because that is my character as a thinker and person, but more emphatically because I think it is important to attend to the unique philosophical voice in African-American and Caribbean intellectual life.

Recent courses have focused on the radical strains in African-American critical theory and politics, including Incarcerating BlacknessBlack Power, Black Panther, and a future seminar on the work of Angela Davis.


In addition to over three dozen essays in European and Africana critical theory, I have published Sensibility and Singularity (SUNY 2001), Godard Between Identity and Difference (Continuum 2008), Levinas and the Postcolonial: Race, Nation, Other (Edinburgh 2011, winner of the Frantz Fanon Book Prize), and the forthcoming Glissant and the Middle Passage: Philosophy, Beginning, Abyss (Minnesota 2019).

I am also editor (with Eric S. Nelson) of Between Levinas and Heidegger (SUNY 2011), (with Marisa Parham) Theorizing Glissant: Sites and Citations (R&L 2015), an issue of Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy on Godard and Philosophy (2010), an issue of The C.L.R. James Journal (with Marisa Parham) on Édouard Glissant (2011), (with Jill Stauffer, Ozlem Biner, and Sharika Thiranagama) a special double issue of Humanity on reconciliation, and (with Grant Farred) issues on James Baldwin in Critical Philosophy of Race and in New Centennial Review.

My current research includes a recently completed manuscript Unimaginable Price: Baldwin and the Black Atlantic, a book-length study of James Baldwin and black Atlantic critical theory, and a short book entitled What is the Afro-Postmodern?.

Scott Davidson and I are co-editors of the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy.

Recent Publications

“Anxieties of Influence in the Black Atlantic,” The Global South and Literature, ed. Russell West-Pavlov (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

"Baldwin's Three Africans," New Centennial Review t 16, no. 2 (2017): 81-96.

"Incarnate Historiography and the Politics of Our Faces," in G. Pfeiffer and W. Gurley, eds. Phenomenology and the Political (Washington, D.C.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016) - essay on Chris Abani, history, incarnation, and politics.

"Césaire's Apocalyptic Word," South Atlantic Quarterly 115, no 3 (2016): 567-584. - essay on Aimé Césaire, memory, and time.

"Orality and the Slave Sublime," in Hanétha Vété-Congolo, ed. The Caribbean Oral Tradition (New York: Palgrave, 2016) - essay on Édouard Glissant, language, memory, and history.

"Senghor's Anxiety of Influence," Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy XXIV, no. 1 (2016): 68-80. - essay on Léopold Senghor and the question of European influence in African thought.

"The Private Life of Resistance," James Baldwin Review 1, no. 1 (2015): 218-221. - essay on James Baldwin and the question of the visibility of resistance.

"Vernaculars of Home," Critical Philosophy of Race 3, no 2 (2015): 203-226. - essay on James Baldwin and his conception of black English and its political importance.