Noontime Lunch Talks

Join us for lunch and faculty presentations on their work in the all-night reading room of Burke Library.

Humanities Center Director: Thomas Wilson

Ashley Bohrer

Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Outlines of an Atlantic Philosophy: Re-Reading the History of Philosophy and the Philosophy of History

Friday, February 10, 2017, Noontime lunch talk • All-Night Reading Room, Burke Library

This paper looks at Atlantic History and Atlantic Studies as a model for how philosophers can and should engage with Europe in its own discipline. Responding to criticisms of postcolonial and anti-colonial scholars, historians began investigating the centrality of the entire Atlantic world -- West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas -- to the development of European identity, economy, politics, gender norms, racial hierarchies, and social codes. It is a widely understood precept of Atlantic studies that Europe became what is was only by virtue of the domination, enslavement, genocide, and colonialism in the Atlantic world. This paper attempts to bring this insight into dialogue with European philosophy, by arguing that many of the concepts, ideas, and forms of reasoning that are central to philosophy also has this Atlantic history. In so doing, it argues that it is not only politically problematic, but philosophically suspect, to continue to study "European philosophy" without reference to the history and ideas of the Atlantic world.