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Tommie Shelby

Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy

(on leave 2013-2014)

Contact Information
Barker Center
(617) 496-8546
(617) 496-2871
Department of African and African American Studies
12 Quincy St. Barker Center
Cambridge, MA 02138

Interests: African American philosophy; philosophical perspectives on race and racism; social and political philosophy; liberalism; black nationalism; Marxist and neo-Marxist social theory.

Professor Shelby, a philosopher and political theorist, joined the Department of African and African American Studies in 2000. He is the author of We Who Are Dark: Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Harvard University Press, 2005) and editor (with Derrick Darby) of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court Publishing, 2005). He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled, "Justice and the Dark Ghetto: The Moral Limits of Liberal Pragmatism."

Other representative publications include "Justice and Racial Conciliation: Two Visions," Daedalus 140 (Winter 2011): 95-107, "Justice, Deviance, and the Dark Ghetto," Philosophy & Public Affairs 35 (2007), "Race and Social Justice: Rawlsian Considerations," Fordham Law Review 72 (2004);  "Blackness and Blood: Interpreting African American Identity," with Lionel K. McPherson, Philosophy & Public Affairs 32 (2004); "Two Conceptions of Black Nationalism: Martin Delany on the Meaning of Black Political Solidarity," Political Theory 31 (2003); "Ideology, Racism, and Critical Social Theory," The Philosophical Forum (2003); "Parasites, Pimps, and Capitalists: A Naturalistic Conception of Exploitation," Social Theory and Practice (2002); "Is Racism in the 'Heart'?" Journal of Social Philosophy (2002); and "Foundations of Black Solidarity: Collective Identity or Common Oppression?" Ethics (2002).

Professor Shelby earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh in 1998, and his B.A. at Florida A & M University in 1990. Before coming to Harvard, he was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ohio State University (1998-2000). He is currently co-Editor of Transition.