Quinnipiac University

‘Reason, Reaction and Black Rebellion’ at 36th Annual Alfred P. Stiernotte Lecture

Starts February 26, 2021 on 12:00 PM (ET)

Ends February 26, 2021 on 1:30 PM (ET)

Aerial view of the Mount Carmel Campus quad and library

Vanessa Wills, assistant professor of philosophy at George Washington University, will present the 36th annual Alfred P. Stiernotte Lecture, “Reason, Reaction and Black Rebellion,” at noon on Friday, February 26 at Quinnipiac.

This virtual event is free and open to the public.

Wills said she will discuss the contributions that radical Black thought has made to a critical and objective understanding of the world and the defense of a genuine democracy.

She’ll also discuss the lessons drawn from Black liberation struggles in the United States and how the Black radical tradition can help deconstruct and fight far-right authoritarianism.

“As people in the United States grow newly aware of the threat posed to democracy by far-right extremism, we see a temptation to close ranks around a ‘patriotic’ American identity,” Wills said. “However, that nationalism has historically been defined in terms that excluded Blacks, laying groundwork for the most virulent forms of racism and reaction. We cannot counter the far right's tall tales with an equally mythological liberal fantasy.”

Wills said radical Black politics in the United States have always had to fight on two fronts — bearing the brunt of illiberal, fascistic terror, and simultaneously articulating ruthless criticisms of liberal politics that fall short as antifascist theory and practice.

A political philosopher, ethicist, educator and activist working in Washington, D.C., Wills was recently the DAAD Visiting Chair in Ethics and Practice at the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität’s Munich Center for Ethics. Her areas of specialization are moral, social and political philosophy; 19th-century German philosophy (especially Karl Marx) and the philosophy of race. She is on the editorial board of Spectre Journal, a biannual journal of Marxist theory, strategy and analysis.

Wills received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, where she wrote her dissertation on “Marx and Morality.” She conducted part of her dissertation research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar during the 2010-11 academic year. She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton University in 2002.

The Stiernotte lecture series is named in honor of the late Alfred P. Stiernotte, who initiated the teaching of philosophy at Quinnipiac more than 50 years ago. The series has been funded largely from an endowment provided by his estate.

For more information, call 203-582-8652.


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