The latest edition of the APA newsletters was posted online recently. In a short series of posts, I’m providing a brief synopsis of each issue (read the previous post here). The APA newsletters are often overlooked, but they don’t deserve to be. Their pages contain a wide variety of scholarly material, discussion on relevant and timely topics, book reviews, and much more. You can download the newsletters on the APA website.
Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience
The spring 2017 issue of the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience is the first one organized by new co-editors Stephen C. Ferguson and Dwayne Tunstall, who recently took over the role after longtime co-editors John McClendon and George Yancy stepped down.
The first article, “On Afro-Caribbean Philosophy: Metaphilosophical Inquiry and Black Existence,” by Clevis Headley, explores the metaphilosophical concerns surrounding Afro-Caribbean philosophy. Citing Paget Henry’s work on the subject, Headley defends the existence and validity of this alternative tradition of philosophy.
In “The Long Revolution, Cornel West’s Black Prophetic Tradition, and Temporal Perspective,” Naomi Zack discusses the philosophical aspects of the Black Prophetic Tradition propagated by Cornel West and how it relates to Raymond Williams’ idea of “The Long Revolution.”
Next, Charles F. Peterson provides a philosophical analysis of the Cinemax drama The Knick in “Walking the Scalpel’s Edge: Identity, Duality, and (Problematic) Black Manhood in The Knick,” with a special focus on the character of Dr. Algernon Edwards. Peterson shows how the character represents the ways in which the tensions of Black male life are projected on screen for society’s consumption.
John Torrey, in “Black Lives Matter’s Normativity and the Canon’s Inability to Connect with the Movement,” addresses the philosophical meaning of the term “matter” in Black Lives Matter. He also shows that non-canonical thinkers such as Assata Shakur, Michelle Alexander, and bell hooks have been highly influential to Black Lives Matter activists and criticizes mainstream philosophy’s failure to resonate with the movement.
In “Beyond Tradition: A Short Rumination on Africana Philosophy and Nihilism in 21st Century America,” Devon R. Johnson writes about optimism, pessimism, and the prospect of future quality of life for Black people in light of the current state of anti-Black racism in the U.S.
The issue ends with Clarence Sholé Johnson’s review of Naomi Zack’s book White Privilege and Black Rights: The Injustice of U.S. Police Racial Profiling and Homicide (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015).
Newsletter on Philosophy in Two-Year Colleges
The spring 2017 issue of the APA Newsletter on Philosophy in Two-Year Colleges addresses three topics: 1) the value of studying philosophy at a two-year or community college; 2) the unique pedagogical challenges and circumstances faced by faculty at two-year and community colleges; and 3) the disparity between adjunct or part-time faculty and full-time, tenure-track faculty and how it relates to justice in the workplace.
In the first article, “The Value of Studying Philosophy for Community College Students,” Richard Legum proposes that the goal of philosophy professors at two-year colleges should be to focus on developing their students’ logical thinking skills to prepare them for obtaining good jobs after graduation. He goes on to discuss the focus of philosophy in graduate programs, at selective liberal arts colleges, and, finally, at two-year or community colleges.
Next, “Lower Division Pedagogy,” by Darren Jones, explores how the diversity of student populations in two-year and community colleges presents unique challenges to teachers at those institutions. In addition to taking into account what two-year college students may be dealing with in their personal lives, instructors must also consider differentiation of instruction in order to effectively reach their students.
The author of the last paper (“A Tale of Two Professors: A Case Study in Justice at the Community College”), Ian M. Duckles, uses his own experience as both an adjunct and a full-time, tenure-track professor to make an “apples to apples” comparison between full- and part-timers. It is his hope that the case study will be useful in introductory ethics classes and also contribute to the criticism of the continued reliance on adjuncts by two-year and community colleges.
Future posts in this series will cover the remaining newsletters. I encourage you to read the APA Newsletters and to share them with your colleagues and students!
The APA Newsletters are a great place to publish your work! Individual guidelines for preparing and submitting material are posted on each individual newsletter’s webpage. You can find links to all of them here.