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Philosopher to Share Thoughts on Emotions, Race

Philosopher to Share Thoughts on Emotions, Race

Posted: February 5, 2019

Myisha Cherry, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, is sharing her expertise on ethics, moral psychology, and social and political philosophy with the campus on Thursday, February 7.

As part of the 2018–2019 James Grunebaum Speakers Series, Cherry will present “Breaking Racial Rules Through Rage” at 3:00 p.m. in the Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni & Visitor Center, Zemsky Presentation Room. It is free and open to the public.

Cherry, who recently served as a visiting fellow in ethics at Harvard University and co-edited the book The Moral Philosophy of Anger (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), has written about emotions, race, state violence, and the philosophy profession in such journals as Hypatia, Radical Philosophy Review, and Critical Philosophy of Race. 

“It has been argued that members of oppressed groups break ‘feeling rules,’ when they express anger at injustice,” she wrote in a statement. “But I think more can be said. I shall argue that rage at racial injustice not only breaks feeling rules but ‘racial rules’—emotive, cognitive, and behavioral rules that enforce white superiority, entitlement, and respect. Such rule-breaking threatens racial domination projects.”

John Torrey, a doctoral candidate at the University of Memphis who is serving as a visiting fellow in Buffalo State’s Philosophy Department, met Cherry through online participation in the Society of Young Black Philosophers.

“Myisha has a very successful podcast about social, political, and ethical issues where she invites some heavy-hitters to come on,” he said. “I thought her expertise would be valuable for our students, so I invited her to speak here. Happily, she agreed.”

Torrey said her talk dovetails nicely with his Introduction to Ethics course.

“We examine how we can live together and what ethical principles we are grounded in,” Torrey said. “Also, I ask my students, how do we deal with justice and injustice?”

He said he hopes that students from many academic disciplines will gain a new lens for seeing the world after hearing Cherry’s talk.

“Anger is normal,” he said. “How it works in political life is something we don’t often think about.”

He also noted that seeing Cherry, an African American female philosopher who has made such strides in the field may inspire Buffalo State students of color in their future careers.

“Perhaps they can see themselves doing something similar,” he said.

About the James Grunebaum Speakers Series
On an annual or bi-annual basis, the speakers series brings high-profile philosophers to Buffalo State. It is endowed by James Grunebaum, professor emeritus of philosophy and humanities. Grunebaum, who retired in 2005, joined the Buffalo State philosophy faculty in 1971, directed the All College Honors Program (now the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program) from 1987 to 1999, and earned the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1997.


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