Dr. Linda Martín Alcoff will present the Root Lecture for 2014 entitled "The Future of Whiteness" at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, March 12, at 5:15 p.m. in Northern Auditorium.
The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Root Lecture Fund and the Department of Philosophy.
Linda Martín Alcoff is one of this country’s preeminent philosophers. Her writings have focused on social identity and race, epistemology and politics, sexual violence, and Latino issues in philosophy. The child of a Panamanian father and an American mother, she grew up in Florida in a multilingual household. Her multicultural and transnational roots have led her to approach philosophy itself with a loving yet highly critical eye. Alcoff’s philosophical project seeks to understand identity and epistemology from the context of different socio-cultural realities. She writes:
“In relation to subjectivity I have been interested in formulating concepts of the self… I reject the idea of a generic self that exists below a cultural or gendered overlay, and thus I believe we need new notions of the self that can accommodate its specificity, without justifying social inequality or entailing that different "selves" cannot communicate effectively with one another” (from ”Why I Do Philosophy”).
Through her work she wishes to construct a framework through which we can enter into real dialogue across differences.
Alcoff has used her philosophical analysis to provide fresh perspectives on national policy debates. Regarding the war on terror, she has shown how minority identities, such as those of American Muslims, South Asian immigrants, and Indian Sikhs, can be misconstrued and artificially grouped in response to external threats. With respect to immigration, she is specifically interested in the politics of mestizo or hybrid identity. She has taught and lectured on these topics throughout the Americas and Europe.
Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center and has degrees from Georgia State University and Brown University. She has written two books: Real Knowing: New Versions of the Coherence Theory (Cornell 1996), and Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self (Oxford 2006). She is currently at work on two new books: a book on sexual violence, and an account of future of white identity. She has edited ten volumes, including Feminist Epistemologies co-edited with Elizabeth Potter (Routledge, 1993); Identities co-edited with Eduardo Mendieta (Blackwell, 2002); Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader co-edited with Mariana Ortega (SUNY 2009); Saint Paul among the Philosophers co-edited with Jack Caputo (Indiana, 2009); and Feminism, Sexuality, and the Return of Religion co-edited with Jack Caputo (Indiana 2011). She is a co-editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. She was President of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, for 2012-2011. She also served as Co-Director of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. She was named the Distinguished Woman in Philosophy for 2005 by the Society for Women in Philosophy, and in 2006 she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine. In September 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Oslo. Her book Visible Identities, won the Frantz Fanon Award in 2009.