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Kant’s Cosmopolitanism and the Idea of Race

March 22, 2023 @
4:30 p.m.
- 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time
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Some scholars argue that Kant is a universal egalitarian, which can be seen in his cosmopolitan philosophy. In the essay “Toward Perpetual Peace” (1795), Kant supposedly offers provisions that displace the racist views that he previously held in the essays on race of the 1780s. Yet in this talk, Professor Jameliah Inga Shorter-Bourhanou (College of the Holy Cross) focuses on Kant’s discussion of enslavement and colonialism in the essay to show that Kant’s cosmopolitan philosophy is not universally egalitarian and, in fact, relies on racial inequality.

Cara Berg Powers ’05, Visiting Lecturer in Community, Youth and Education Studies at Clark University, will provide commentary.

This event continues the Roots of Everything, a lecture series sponsored by Early Modernists Unite (EMU)—a faculty collaborative bringing together scholars of medieval and early modern Europe and America—in conjunction with the Higgins School of Humanities. The series highlights various aspects of modern existence originating in the early modern world by connecting past and present knowledge.

Admission is free and open to the public.

About the Speakers

Jameliah Inga Shorter-Bourhanou is an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Shorter-Bourhanou’s research interests are in black feminist philosophy, critical philosophy of race, and Immanuel Kant. She has published articles that have appeared in the Kantian Review and Hypatia. Shorter-Bourhanou has a book forthcoming with Oxford University Press titled, Kant’s Universalism and the Idea of Race.

Cara Berg Powers ’05 has dedicated her career to leveraging education, arts, and culture to help people reimagine and reshape the world, most recently as executive director of the Transformative Culture Project. Berg Powers has developed and taught university-level courses in media, education, sociology, and social change, including at Clark. She also has produced content for MTV and NBC, and has presented at national conferences on issues of media, culture and equity. Berg Powers has written and peer-reviewed articles about the power and potential of youth-led participatory action research as a tool for community change and positive youth development. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership and change from Fielding Graduate University, an individualized master’s in transformative media arts and ethnomusicology from Goddard College, and a bachelor’s in screen studies from Clark. A lifelong Worcester resident, she is engaged in the Worcester community as a volunteer, advocate, coach, and parent.


March 22, 2023
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Clark University, Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons – 2nd Floor
36 Maywood Street
Worcester, MA 01610 United States
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