Department of Philosophy Speaker Series: “Black Women, State Violence, and the Logic of the Narrative of ‘Mothers of the Movement'”

As part of its 2022 Speaker Series, the Department of Philosophy at Case Western Reserve University invites campus community members to hear from Shaeeda Mensah, assistant professor of philosophy at McDaniel College. Mensah will present “Black Women, State Violence, and the Logic of the Narrative of ‘Mothers of the Movement,’” Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. (EST) via Zoom.

Mensah earned a PhD in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University and a BA in sociology from Spelman College. Her areas of research specialization include Black feminism, social and political philosophy, philosophy of race and feminist philosophy. Her current research focuses on Black women’s experiences with police violence and mass incarceration. More specifically, her research centers on Black women as victims of police violence and mass incarceration, and considers the social, political, and epistemological implications of centering Black men and boys as the near exclusive targets of such practices.

Mensah’s lecture will draw from her paper (by the same name), in which she critically examines the emerging narrative of Black women as the “Mothers of the Movement.” She argues that this narrative places Black women as indirect targets of state violence, and considers the implications of the tendency to fail to see Black women as directly targeted and impacted by state violence.

The philosophy of race has been an ever-growing topic of research in the field of philosophy since the rise of African-American philosopher, Alain Locke, during the Harlem Renaissance. In recent years, it has grown to include the philosophy of non-whites across the globe, including thinkers such as DuBois, Gandhi, Fanon, Edward Said, Anna J. Cooper, Angela Davis, Cornel West, George Yancy, Falguni Sheth, Achille Mbembe, Charles Mills, Martin Luther King and Kwasi Wiredu, to name a few. 

The Department of Philosophy Speaker Series 2022 is developed in conjunction with the course PHIL315/415 – “Special Topics: Racial Justice and Philosophy” course taught by Nathalie Nya, in order to not only diversify the curriculum in the Department of Philosophy, but also to invite the campus community to participate and become familiar with the philosophy of race as a sub-discipline within the American Philosophical Association.

Email nxn219@case.edu to receive the Zoom link for the lecture.