The Jacobs Lecture

Emeritus faculty member Russell Jacobs established this lecture upon his retirement. The inaugural lecture, in November 2019, will be given by Dr. Chike Jeffers of Dalhouise University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019
Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center
Free and open to all.

Dr. Chike Jeffers presents: “What Counts as a Collective Gift? Culture and Value in Du Bois’ The Gift of Black Folk.

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Chike JeffersIn his famous 1897 essay, "The Conservation of Races," Du Bois advocates that African Americans hold on to their distinctiveness as members of the black race because this enables them to participate in a cosmopolitan process of cultural exchange in which different races collectively advance human civilization by means of different contributions. Contemporary philosophers like Kwame Anthony Appiah and Tommie Shelby have criticized the position that Du Bois expresses in that essay as a problematic form of racial essentialism. Jeffers will investigate how Du Bois' 1924 book, The Gift of Black Folk, escapes or fails to escape that criticism.

It is easy to worry that the diversity characterizing what Du Bois is willing to treat as a black contribution to the development of America in this book pushes us from the problem of essentialism to the other extreme: a lack of any conceptual constraints whatsoever on what can count as a black gift. Jeffers argues that recognizing the cultivation of historical memory as a form of cultural activity is key to understanding the concept's unity.

About the Russell Jacobs Lecture in Philosophy

The purpose of the Russell Jacobs Lecture in Philosophy is to bring outstanding philosophers and discussion of their work to Washburn University. It is held in the fall and always is free and open to the public.

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Philosophy and Religious Studies Department
Morgan Hall, Room 206
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

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