Philosopher to discuss role of liberalism in achieving racial justice

Contact: Cheryl Roland

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—"Liberalism and Racial Justice" will be the topic when the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society hosts its final presentation of the fall 2017 semester at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, in 157 Bernhard Center.

Dr. Charles Mills, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, will explore the topic during an event that also is part of WMU's 11th annual Graduate Student Philosophy Conference, a gathering that begins Thursday, Dec. 7.

In his talk, Mills is expected to examine liberalism's record on racial justice that has been historically problematic and sometimes complicit with rather than critical of injustice. He will argue that liberalism can be employed to achieve racial justice but the task will involve rethinking liberalism's history and the way assumptions are normally framed.


Mills began his academic career studying physics at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, before eventually pursuing graduate work in philosophy at the University of Toronto. His research interests include social and political philosophy, critical philosophy of race, African American philosophy, Marxism, and feminism. He is the author of "Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism," published in 2017 by Oxford University Press.

Graduate Student Philosophy Conference

In addition to being part of the fall speaker series for the ethics center, Mills' talk is one of three keynote speeches for the Graduate Student Philosophy Conference sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Graduate Student Association and Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. Additional keynote speeches will be offered by Dr. Derrick Darby, professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan and Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher, professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at California State University-Los Angeles.

For more information about the conference, contact Dale Brown, graduate assistant in the Department of Philosophy, at For more about the ethics center talk, contact Dr. Sandra Borden, professor of communication and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at

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