2023 Africana Studies Publications and Grants

* Indicates student co-author

Mubirumusoke, Mukasa. “Black Existentialism and Phenomenology.” Encyclopedia of Phenomenology, edited by Nicolas de Warren and Ted Toadvine. Springer, 2023, pp. 1-9. 

Abstract: Black existentialism and black phenomenology broadly reference a collection of thinkers and writers who utilize a method of critical inquiry grounded in black experience and/or its limits. Some of these thinkers and writers are responding and incorporating the techniques and frameworks developed by European philosophers that are traditionally attributed to foregrounding phenomenology and existentialism as modes of philosophical investigation and reflection, for example, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone De Beauvoir, and Hannah Arendt. While others are not necessarily philosophers by training, with some of their writings preceding and/or developing separately from the aforementioned schools of thought. In the former categorization we have thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, William R. Jones, Lewis Gordon, George Yancy, Steve Biko, Kathryn Sophia Belle, and Lucius Outlaw, while the latter writers may include W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Richard Wright, and Toni Morrison. In addition to their race and rise to prominence in the twentieth century, all of these thinkers and writers outline moments or entire framings that focus on black experience, or its limits, as essential to critically engaging the world they inhabit and wish to change, reform, or destroy.

Nemil, Osman and Mukasa Mubirumusoke. “After Black(ness).” Revista di Estetica, vol. 83, no. 2, 2023, pp. 105-120.

Abstract: This paper traces the tenuous relationship of prestige television, the culture industry and blackness. The opening section aims to get a hold on what is meant by prestigious television. We review literature that introduces and problematizes the intuitive arguments of prestige television’s elevated status as high art and ultimately conclude with a sociopolitical argument that minimizes the distinction between form and content in order to emphasize and show the hierarchy inherent in the culture industry based on legitimacy. The second section introduces the idea of blackness to the conversation of prestige television by analyzing the final scene of The Sopranos – a cut to the black screen – as not merely the event that officially inaugurates prestige television, but as an event that also announces the possible escape from its parameters of legitimacy. To do the latter we reflect upon “Black Bieber” as a figure of illegitimate blackness in Donald Glover’s Atlanta. In the third and concluding sections of the paper, we continue our elaboration of the uniqueness of blackness by putting into conversation Fred Moten’s conception of fugitive blackness with Theodor Adorno’s aesthetic theory.