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 We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Harvard, 2005) and coeditor (with Derrick Darby) of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court, 2005). Other recent publications include "Justice, Deviance, and the Dark Ghetto," Philosophy & Public Affairs (2007); "Race and Social Justice: Rawlsian Considerations," Fordham Law Review (2004); "Blackness and Blood: Interpreting African American Identity," with Lionel K. McPherson, Philosophy & Public Affairs (2004); "Ideology, Racism, and Critical Social Theory," The Philosophical Forum (2003); "Parasites, Pimps, and Capitalists: A Naturalistic Conception of Exploitation," Social Theory and Practice (2002); and "Foundations of Black Solidarity: Collective Identity or Common Oppression?" Ethics (2002). He is also the coeditor of the journal Transition.
His current book project, tentatively entitled "Justice and the Dark Ghetto," investigates the questions of justice that arise when thinking systematically about problems of race and urban poverty.
Professor Shelby has been a Faculty Associate of the Ethics Center since 2004, and was a Senior Scholar in Ethics in 2009-2010.