Johnson and Biko Mandela Gray, of Syracuse University, were interviewed about their co-authored book, "Phenomenology of Black Spirit," which puts Black thinkers in conversation with 19th-century philosopher G.W.F. Hegel.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Ryan Johnson and co-author Biko Mandela Gray, assistant professor of religion at Syracuse University, were interviewed on the “Examining Ethics” podcast about their new book, “Phenomenology of Black Spirit.”
“What we wanted to do was ask, ‘How might we think about Hegel’s book, “The Phenomenology of Spirit,” in relation to something called Blackness?’ Gray says in the interview. “We really wanted to ask, ‘What might it look like for Blackness to be understood as central to philosophical thinking. What we really wanted to do was kind of reframe Hegel. And also, in doing that kind of work, engage with Black studies and make this profound argument that we both agree with is that Blackness is central to modernity.”
“Examining Ethics” is a popular philosophy podcast produced by the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University, hosted and produced by Christiane Wisehart. The podcast episode is available to listen to here.
Johnson says creating the book with Gray changed the way he thinks and writes.
“We had a philosophical idea that brought us together, and that attracted each to the other’s thinking. When we got together, there was a different thing going on than when I think by myself,” Johnson said. “It’s changed me so much. My writing is totally different now. And the concerns I have, the ways of addressing them, are very different, too. All simply because I was at this conference in Dayton, Ohio, one that our awesome friend, Dustin Atlas, and I put on, when I saw a man’s beautiful mind and thought, ‘I want to be there.’”
Johnson and Gray also published a blog post on the book for the Edinburgh University Press blog.