PHIL 362

African and African-American Philosophy

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective August 1, 1998 – December 16, 2018

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This course examines philosophical works produced in Africa and about Africa, as well as work by and about African Americans. Topics may include: the ethno philosophy of Africa; the philosophy of liberation movements in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States; and contemporary philosophy in the United States and Europe as written by persons of African descent. Questions raised could include: Is there an "African philosophy"? What should the goals of liberation be? In what sense is there a "Black identity?" Are racial solidarity and racism related? How has the experience of persons of African descent been recorded philosophically? What is the experience of African-American intellectuals like?

Learning outcomes


  • Critically examine various aspects of supposed racial identity: Is there something that can be called "Black Identity"
  • Identify and explain, at an advanced collegiate level, the particular social, economic, historical, political and discursive factors that are thought to influence the development of racial identity, focusing both on philosophical works produced in Africa and work by and about African Americans.
  • Focus most acutely on the centrality of justification for claims made in these accounts: does this work lend itself to traditional understandings of justification?
  • Analyze philosophical work produced in Africa, focusing especially on ethno philosophy, and the philosophy of liberation movements as written in Africa as well as work written by scholars of African descent in the Caribbean and the United States.
  • Use the work of the course to reflect on personal beliefs and attitudes about the question of racial identity.
  • Develop communication skills necessary for displaying and acting on those beliefs and attitudes that facilitate living and working effectively and morally in a diverse society.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.