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Dwight Lewis

Dwight Lewis

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow


Curriculum Vitae

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Education:

  1. PHD, University of South Florida, Philosophy,

Biography:

Dwight Lewis received his PHD from the University of South Florida (Tampa, FL), working under Roger Ariew and Justin EH Smith in the History of Philosophy. His research focuses on concepts of human difference (e.g., race, gender, and sexuality), underrepresented philosophers, early modern philosophy generally construed, Africana Philosophy, and philosophy of race. He defended his dissertation, Amo's Philosophy and Reception: from the Origins through the Encyclopédie, in March of 2019. He spent this academic year (2018-19) as a Mellon Research Fellow at Emory University in The James Weldon Johnson Institute, and he will spend the next academic year (2019-2020) as a Mellon 

Dissertation:

My Thesis Project:

Diversity and the concept of race are, or should be, central concerns both for the history of philosophy and for our current political reality. Within academic philosophy, these concerns are expressed in the growing demand for minority representation within the canon, which is overwhelmingly white and male, especially in early modern philosophy. Until now, historians of philosophy have not spent the time necessary to uncover the various designations such as ‘Negro’, ‘Moor’, ‘Ethiopian’, etc, in early modern Europe, and from there to understand how these shaped philosophical reflections on human diversity. In my research, I aim to show that Anton Wilhelm Amo (c. 1700 – c. 1750), Europe’s first African Ph.D. in philosophy, in relation to Descartes, Leibniz and Wolff together with the treatment of human difference in the work of Denis Diderot and his contemporaries, will aid in addressing (1) the lack of diversity in the philosophical canon, and (2) the insufficient historical analysis of various designations of human difference.