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Robert Bernasconi

Robert Bernasconi

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies

240F Sparks Building
Office Phone: (814) 865-6398


  1. B.A., Philosophy, School of English and American Studies, Sussex University, 1972. First Class honors.
  2. D. Phil., Sussex University, 1982


Areas of Specialization

  • Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy
  • Critical Philosophy of Race
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Modern Philosophy
  • History of Ethics

Recent Courses

  • Medieval Ethics
  • Hegel's Philosophy of Religion
  • Sartre and Fanon
  • Levinas
  • Modern Political Philosophy and Slavery

Recent Publications

  • How to Read Sartre, New York, Norton, 2007.
  • “Must We Avoid Speaking of Religion: The Truths of Religions,” Research in Phenomenology, vol. 39, no. 2, 2009, pp. 204-223.
  • “The Philosophy of Race in the Nineteenth Century” Routledge Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy, ed. Dean Moyar, London: Routledge, 2010, pp. 498-521.
  • “Race and Earth in Heidegger’s Thinking During the Late 1930s” The Southern Journal Philosophy, vol. 48, 1, 2010, pp. 49-66.
  • “The Policing of Race Mixing: The Place of Biopower within the History of Racisms,” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry7, 2010, pp. 205-216.
  • “Globalization and World Hunger:  Kant and Levinas” in Radical Levinas, eds. Matthew Calarco and Peter Atterton, Albany, SUNY Press, 2010, pp. 69-84.
  • “Totalität und Unendlichkeit in Hegels ‘Glauben und Wissen,’” trans. Brigitta Keintzel, in Hegel und Levinas, eds. Brigitta Keintzel and Burkhard Liebsch, Freiburg: Alber, 2010, pp. 219-313.
  • “Kant’s Third Thoughts on Race” in Reading Kant’s Geography, eds. Stuart Elden and Eduardo Mendieta, Albany: SUNY Press, 2011, pp. 291-318.
  • “‘The Ruling Categories of the World: The Trinity in Hegel’s Philosophy of History and the Rise and Fall of Peoples,” in Blackwell Companion to Hegel, eds. S. Houlgate and M. Bauer, Oxford: Blackwell, 2011, pp. 315-331.
  • “Critical Philosophy of Race” in Routledge Companion to Phenomenology, eds. Sebastian Luft and Søren Overgaard, New York: Routledge, 2011, pp. 551-562.
  • “Perpetual Peace and the Invention of Total War” in Philosophy and the Return of Violence: This Widening Gyre, eds. Christopher S. Yates and Nathan Eckstrand, New York: Continuum International, 2011, pp. 44-60.
  • “The Great White Error and the Great Black Mirage” in Frantz Fanon: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Nigel Gibson, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp. 85-92.
  • “Proto-Racism: Carolina in Locke’s Mind” in Racism and Modernity, eds. Iris Wigger and Sabine Ritter, Berlin: LIT, 2011, pp. 68-82.
  • “The Impossible Logic of Assimilation,” Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, 19, 2, 2011, pp. 37-49.
  • “True Colors: Kant’s Distinction Between Nature and Artifice in Context” in eds. Rainer Godel and Gideon Stiening, Klopffechterein-Missverständnisse-Widersprüche? Methodische und Methodolodische Perspektiven auf die Kant-Forster Kontroverse, Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink, 2012, pp. 191-207.
  • “Levinas’s Ethical Critique of Levinasian Ethics” in. Totality and Infinity at 50, eds. Scott Davidson and Diane Perpich, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2012, pp. 253-269 and 295-297.
  • “Racism is a System: How Existentialism Became Dialectical in Fanon and Sartre,” in Cambridge Companion to Existentialism, ed. S. Crowell, Cambridge" Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 342-360.
  • "Crossed Lines in the Racialization Process; Race as a Border Concept"Research in Phenomenology, 42, 2012, pp. 206-228.
  • Edited with Jonathan Judaken, Situating Existentialism, New York, Columbia University Press, 2012.

Current Projects

"I try to write an essay in each of my areas of specialization every year so as to maintain my expertise. My long term project is to write a philosophical history of the concept of race. In the midterm I intend to write a short monograph on the failure of most seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophers to engage with the evils of the slave trade."