Professor Kwame Phillips on Black Radical Thought in the 19th and 20th Centuries

John Cabot University Communications Professor Kwame Phillips co-authored a chapter in the book Futures of Black Radicalism (Verso, 2017) with scholar and activist Professor Shana L. Redmond. The publication is currently available for free as an e-book at Verso. A collection of established and emerging key voices in the new intellectual wave of Black radical thinking, the work speaks to the history and tradition of Black radical thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Futures of Black Radicalism

Futures of Black Radicalism

Given the recent upswell of global anti-racist and anti-white supremacist protests, the book finds itself positioned at the heart of this renewed engagement with the history of Black radical movements and thought. It is a book in conversation with Cedric Robinson’s 1983 seminal work, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition which analyzes the influence and limitations of Marxist ideology on Black resistance movements. In much the same way, Futures of Black Radicalism explores the significance of Black people and Black communities as agents of change and resistance.
For their contribution, Professor Phillips and Dr. Redmond explored the role of music as a tool and empowering force for resistance, and created a playlist that acts as “a people’s songbook, a soundtrack to the improvisational life and living of Blackness under the control of white supremacy and is an effort to pull forward and give a name to what our bodies tell us with every needle drop, to hold tight that which combines individual voice and people’s rebellion, to play together in the porous forcefield that incubates new knowledge and launches our freedom dreams” (Redmond & Phillips, 2017, in Futures of Black Radicalism, p. 206-207).

The authors further turned that playlist into a mix, including contextualizing interludes.

Listen to the mix

Professor Kwame Phillips is an anthropologist and filmmaker. Born in London and raised in Jamaica, he joined John Cabot’s Department of Communications in Fall 2016. He has traveled all around the world teaching digital storytelling in underserved communities and is currently teaching media studies and post-production classes at JCU.

Read “Mixtape Scholarship: A conversation with Dr. Kwame Phillips, co-author of “The People Who Keep on Going”: A Listening Party, Vol. I.” in Experimental Ethnography @Emory