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AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Philosophy of Religion Unit
Theme: Sylvia Wynter and Philosophy of Religion
Danube Johnson, Harvard University, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-17A (Mezzanine Level)

This panel will explore the importance of Sylvia Wynter’s work for problematics in the philosophy of religion. Wynter’s work has long been an important touchstone in black studies, but has tragically and wrongly been ignored in other humanist disciplines. This panel seeks to correct that ignorance with regard to the philosophy of religion. While engagements with the black intellectual tradition have increased in recent years, this has sometimes resulted in the shunting off of that work as specific to questions of race alone or to making use of the black tradition as a mere supplement. This panel works from the axiom that black philosophy is philosophy as such. Wynter’s work in particular shows how questions of race are imbricated through the very foundations of philosophical thinking in ways that undo colorblind conceptions of the universal and that challenge established accounts within the philosophy of religion.

David Kline, University of Tennessee
Autopoiesis and Auto-Religion: Sylvia Wynter's Philosophy of Religion

For good reasons, readers of Sylvia Wynter interested in her attention to religion and theology have focused on her historical genealogy of the “overdetermined” figure of Man in the making of the modern racial world. With an eye towards the history of concepts behind the emergence of racial categories of human difference, the role of religion and theology, rather than Wynter’s description of the nature of these categories, have been the focus. This paper examines the nature of religion in her work.

Marika Rose, University of Winchester
Black Magic: Wynter, Modernity, and Disenchantment

This paper examines the thematics of disenchantment as central to the shift from medieval Christendom to secular modernity as developed by Sylvia Wynter.

Anthony Paul Smith, La Salle University
Genres of Theodicy after God and Man

Wynter’s engagement with the philosophical theme of theodicy shows how religious and theological forms persist and structure thought even after the power of religious institutions and theological inquiry has declined. She specifically describes a shift from theodicy to biodicy as a necessary shift in the move from one genre of being human to another. This paper will analyze and deepen Wynter’s engagement with theodicy by showing an underlying form common to its various genres.

Unregistered Participant
Wynter and the Latinx Decolonial Project

This paper considers how Wynter has been picked up by decolonial Latinx thinkers who have developed a different engagement with theological traditions than Anglo-European philosophers of religion. While classical philosophy of religion has tended to leave history to the wayside in its analyses, Wynter’s work and those who build off of it provide models for thinking the abstractions necessary for philosophy without being blind to the historical embeddedness of those abstractions.

Unregistered Participant
The Quantum of Wynter’s Religion: From Exegetics to Decoherence in the Philosophy of Religion

My paper will ask if the implications of Sylvia Wynter’s work make so great a demand upon the bonds that hold together the conditions of possibility for any Philosophy of Religion that the very field may no longer remain coherent as such. Turning to the deconstruction of Christianity begun by Jacques Derrida, we can see how Wynter radicalizes the disruptive potentical of his gesture that there are two choices for apprehending religion as a category in the West: either there is no such as religion or there is only one and it is Christianity.

Amaryah Armstrong, Vanderbilt University
Business Meeting:
Thomas A. Lewis, Brown University
Unregistered Participant