Tommie Shelby

Tommie Shelby

Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy, Harvard University
Chair, African and African American Studies
smiling man with brown skin and glasses in a suit in front of a blurred bookshelf

Professor Shelby is Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from Florida A & M University (1990) and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh (1998). Prior to coming to Harvard in 2000, he taught philosophy at Ohio State University (1996-2000). His main areas of research and teaching focus on racial and economic justice and on the history of black political thought.

Professor Shelby is the author of Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform (Belknap, 2016) and We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Belknap, 2005). He is coeditor (with Brandon M. Terry) of To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Belknap, 2018), and (with Derrick Darby) of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court, 2005).

Other recent publications include:

“Freedom in a Godless and Unhappy World: Wright as Outsider,” in The Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright, ed. Glenda R. Carpio (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 121-138.

 

“Richard Wright: Realizing the Promise of the West,” in African American Political Thought: A Collected History, ed. Melvin Rogers and Jack Turner (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).

 

“Prisons of the Forgotten: Ghettos and Economic Injustice,” in To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Tommie Shelby and Brandon M. Terry (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018), pp. 187-204.

 

“Justification, Learning, and Human Flourishing,” in Danielle Allen, Education and Equality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), pp. 51-61.

 

“Impure Dissent: Hip Hop and the Political Ethics of Marginalized Black Urban Youth,” in From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age, ed. Danielle Allen and Jennifer S. Light (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), pp. 59-79.

 

“Liberalism, Self-Respect, and Troubling Cultural Patterns in Ghettos,” in The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth, ed. Orlando Patterson and Ethan Fosse (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. 498-532.

 

“Inequality, Integration, and Imperatives of Justice: A Review Essay,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 42 (Summer 2014): 253-285.

 

“Racism, Moralism, and Social Criticism,” Du Bois Review 11.1 (2014): 57-74.

 

“Racial Realities and Corrective Justice: A Reply to Charles Mills,” Critical Philosophy of Race 1.2 (2013): 145-162.

 

“Race” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, ed. David Estlund (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 336-353.

 

“The Ethics of Uncle Tom’s Children,” Critical Inquiry 38 (Spring 2012): 513-532.

 

"Justice and Racial Conciliation: Two Visions," Daedalus 140 (Winter 2011): 95-107.

He is also the coeditor of the journal Transition.

Professor Shelby has been a Faculty Associate of the Ethics Center since 2004, and was a Senior Scholar in Ethics in 2009-2010.

Current Role

Senior Scholar