Tommie Shelby

Tommie Shelby

Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy
Tommie Shelby

Research Interests: social and political philosophy, history of black political thought, philosophy of race, and social theory

Tommie Shelby 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). He 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.


Contact Information

Barker Center 242, Emerson 316
p: 617-496-8546