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The Center Must Not Hold


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Troublemaking Allies Chapter 1. White Ignorance and the Denials of Complicity: On the Possibility of Doing Philosophy in Good Faith Chapter 2. Knowing What the Ending Will Be: Pragmatism and White Cultural Authority Chapter 3. On Intersectionality and the Whiteness of Feminist Philosophy Chapter 4. The Man of Culture: The Civilized and the Barbarian in Western Philosophy Chapter 5. Whiteness and Rationality: Feminist Dialogue on Race in Academic Institutional Spaces Chapter 6. Appropriate Subjects: Whiteness and the Discipline of Philosophy Chapter 7. Color in the Theory of Colors? Or: Are Philosophers' Colors All White? Chapter 8. The Secularity of Philosophy: Race, Religion, and the Silence of Exclusion Chapter 9. Philosophy's Whiteness and the Loss of Wisdom Chapter 10. Against the Whiteness of Ethics: Dilemmatizing as a Critical Approach Chapter 11. The Whiteness of Anti-Racist White Philosophical Address Chapter 12. Colonial Practices/Colonial Identities: RacialFormation and White Feminist Academic Discourse Chapter 13. Is Philosophy Anything if it Isn't White?

About the Author

George Yancy is associate professor of philosophy at Duquesne University and author of Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race. He is also coeditor of Critical Perspectives on bell hooks and Narrative Identities: Psychologists Engaged in Self-Construction and editor of Philosophy in Multiple Voices, White on White/Black on Black, What White Looks Like: African American Philosophers on the Whiteness Question, The Philosophical I: Personal Reflections on Life in Philosophy, Cornel West: A Critical Reader, and African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations.


How can intelligent, well-meaning lovers of wisdom become so unwise? In The Center Must Not Hold, George Yancy brings together contributors who confront this urgent question with candid, thoughtful analyses of their own whiteness, the whiteliness of Philosophy and the pitfalls of anti-racist and feminist theorizing. Let us listen to these white women allies in our quest to create self-reflective, inclusive, and coalitional philosophies so as to destabilize the reign of whiteness in a discipline that professes not only the love of wisdom but also the love of justice. -- Mariana Ortega, Professor of Philosophy, John Carroll University
With rare exception, philosophy-even feminist philosophy-has remained cool toward the critical analysis of race, racism, and racial privilege. In this powerful, demanding, and insightful volume, women philosophers unflinchingly tackle the discipline's refusal to interrogate its discursive practices, its silence, its more or less conscious collusion in the construction of `whiteness.' This work breaks new ground in its challenge to all who need and love and do philosophy. -- M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College
If the unexamined life is not worth living, can the unexamined discipline be worth reproducing? In The Center Must Not Hold, reflective practitioners of the craft provide compelling reasons for worrying about the soul of the enterprise and the insidious toxicity of some of its most deeply entrenched assumptions. -- Elizabeth V. Spelman, Smith College
CMNH is an important step in trying to dislodge whiteness as a transcendental norm. It prompts us to enact critical practices in doing a kind of philosophy that builds up an anti-racist world. One of CMNH's extraordinary strengths is that it is infused with innumerable non-traditional, often obscure, culturally and historically rich examples....It stands out from and is a valuable contribution to contemporary feminist scholarship and critical race theory and proves to be an important resource for undergraduate and graduate students. * Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy *
The authors of these chapters demonstrate the necessary philosophical expertise to qualify the book as a major source of knowledge production on the structural components of whiteness. Its major strength lies in revealing how sources of resistance to the whiteness of philosophy as an academic discipline can indeed be found by way of white subjectivities. White women philosophers' desire to open their discipline to the work of people of color attempts to revise nothing less than Western hegemonic racialized gender discourse. In this respect, The Center Must Not Hold is a major contribution not only to philosophy and race studies, but also to critical whiteness studies, as it matures in the second decade of the new millennium. * African American Review *

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