Philosophy department hosts distinguished philosopher

Alyssa Storm, Washburn Review Editor in Chief

The department of philosophy and religious studies hosted a philosophy professor for its inaugural Russell Jacobs Lecture in philosophy on the topic of race.

Dr. Chike Jeffers became the first Russell Jacobs Lecturer in philosophy Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center. Jeffers is a professor in philosophy with cross-appointments in Canadian Studies and International Development Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax and Nova Scotia, Canada.

His book “Listening to Ourselves: A Multilingual Anthology of African Philosophy” was published in 2013. In the summer of 2019 “What is Race? Four Philosophical Views” was published, which he contributed.

The department of philosophy and religious studies wants to present famous philosophers from around the world through the Russel Jacobs Lecture to Washburn University and the Topeka community.

“I thought it was a high-quality event,” said History Professor Rachel Goossen. “It was a great turnout, but really a tremendous first speaker to build interest in philosophy at Washburn.”

If you aren’t a philosophy major or minor, it made you think of the topic differently without even knowing. 

Jeffers discussed his ongoing work on the philosophical introduction to W.E.B. Du Bois’ work. Du Bois was a famous sociologist, historian and civil-rights activist in the late 19th, early 20th century. Jeffers explained in detail Du Bois’ most famous essay “The Conservation of Races,” specifically the chapters that Jeffers thought were more prominent – the ones he will be discussing in his book.

“I’m giving this lecture to help me finish the book,” said Jeffers. “It is helpful and necessary to answer questions on Du Bois’ behalf.”

Jeffers explored Du Bois’ book “The Gift of Black Folk” chapter by chapter to explain the meaning behind it. 

“Understanding our freedom is key to breaking the paradox of discrimination,” said Jeffers while summarizing Du Bois’ chapters. “The real meaning of race conversations end up having bad ending about social standing of Negroes.”

Jeffers understands the importance of philosophy in young students and faculties minds. He traveled to Washburn University to help us understand more about his work, while helping himself finish his piece that he is in the middle of – The Routledge Philosopher series. 

Edited by Adam White, Jackson Woods, Wesley Tabor