Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy, English, and African American Studies
With James Stewart and Bernard Bell, I organized a conference on “The Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois,” in March 1992. Papers from this conference became the volume W. E. B. Du Bois on Race and Culture: Philosophy, Politics, Poetics. co-edited with J. Stewart and B. Bell, and published by Routledge in 1997. The central third of the Editors’ Introduction is mine, along with my essay “Nature and Culture in Du Bois's Quest of the Silver Fleece.”
I was awarded, with James Stewart and Christine Clark-Evans, grants from the Fund for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (PSU) supplemented by another from the Office for Educational Equity (PSU) for a proposal entitled ‘The Cost of Philosophy: Martin Luther King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.’ We created a multi-media record of the intersection of two courses (one on ethics, and the other on African American philosophy) and a conference on Bonhoeffer’s influence in America and South Africa in Fall 1999. Working with Christine Clark-Evans, I developed a new course Philosophy / AAAS 469, African American Philosophy, and was awarded a grant from the Institute for Arts and Humanities (PSU) to support a lecture series to accompany it. We invited Lewis Gordon (Temple), Joy James (Williams), Harvey Cormier (SUNY/Stony Brook) and Koffi Maglo (University of Cincinnati) to lecture, as well as James Stewart and Thomas Poole, in Spring 2008. In Spring 2010, inspired by Wangari Maathai, I developed a new course Philosophy 497A, ‘Science, Women and Traditional Knowledge,’ which combines recent work in the philosophy of biology with case studies of projects that successfully combine Western scientific knowledge with traditional knowledge, to solve problems of poverty and environmental degradation; I have taught versions of this course every other year since then.