Colloquium: March 8, 2019

Speaker: Melvin Rogers, Associate Professor of Political Science, Brown University

Title: Being a Slave of the Community: Race, Domination, and Republicanism

Friday, March 8th at 2:30pm Fraser Building (Law) Room 152


Any effort to understand approaches to justice that rest on principles of non-domination would do well to reflect on those who have sought to address racial domination. In particular, the resources of 19th century African-American political thought have much to offer. In the 19th century African American intellectuals, seeking to discover how to undo and ward off racial domination, drew on two different strands of the philosophical tradition of republicanism. In the process they produced a third strand in which republicanism is linked to racial equality. A look at this body of work offers us the chance to recover resources for contemporary projects of justice, while also requiring us to revise traditional accounts of when and where republicanism, as a political theory, has waxed and waned. It will turn out that the work of building a political theory for justice as non-domination also requires undoing forms of domination reflected in the historiographic tradition. My lecture will recover this tradition in the African-American political thought while raising doubts about the inadequacy of the current revival of republicanism in addressing racial domination.