In this dissertation, I address issues of race and racism by developing a philosophical resource to help guide us in anti-racist political action and work toward a more just world. My main claim is that European colonialism determined how history has unfolded, from the scope of our knowledge to our everyday perception of ourselves, others, and the world. To address colonialism’s hold, we must practice anti-racist and anti-colonial self-awareness and use critical reflection to inform our political action in our own communities. I suggest that to create this world, we must (1) uncover the hidden institutional and systematic structures of racism that are at the core of our experiences, (2) practice self-reflection to find how those hidden structures affect our own experience and behavior, and (3) take part in building a just world in our very own communities. My dissertation addresses each of these areas by drawing on the work of philosopher, psychiatrist, and decolonial revolutionary Frantz Fanon. I also draw on art, archival materials, and my own experience surrounding mental illness and incarceration to illustrate how racism is at the core of our conceptions of mental health and criminality. This research mentoring project will revolve around the interdisciplinary aspect of my research by looking at philosophical theory, mental illness, and incarceration. Rather than focusing on theoretical aspect of my research, this project will look at art and archival materials that illustrate my theoretical claims. The undergraduate can take on work in one of these areas based on their own interests if applicable. These areas and skills are applicable to a wide range of disciplines beyond philosophy that explore issues of race and racism, such as: history, psychology, sociology, art theory, political theory, criminal justice, and disability studies.
The work will include learning research skills specific to the discipline of philosophy and proceed through four phases: 1. Searching for relevant academic literature by learning how to perform academic searches in philosophy, 2. Implementing a citation system using bibliographic database by learning about philosophy-specific citation styles and how to use Zotero, 3. Writing concise article and book chapter summaries by learning philosophical reading and writing skills, and 4. Visiting and reflecting on art museums and/or archives to learn about navigating interdisciplinary institutions and incorporate multimedia materials into philosophical or theoretical research. For accessibility, this research mentoring project has the option to be completed remotely. Work will be roughly eight (8) hours per week for six (6) weeks, but can be stretched to eight (8) weeks if needed for accessibility purposes. We will have one meeting per week over Zoom.