Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

English

College

College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree

M.A.

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Kristen Lillvis

Second Advisor

Puspa Damai

Third Advisor

Timothy Burbery

Abstract

New Humanism, a critical movement that can be traced back to the early 1900s and Mathew Arnold, is an aesthetic committed to reclaiming the defining moral agents of Western Europe and liberal humanism. This commitment to the past is still the focal point of academic discussions as scholars contemplate whether or not to move away from the humanist tradition. A Newer Humanism is my own attempt at inserting myself into the academic conversation as I hope to shed light on the current situation plaguing academics. While I argue for the overthrow of the liberal humanist subject, a commitment to the ideologies associated with androcentricism, I do consider liberal humanism’s understanding concerning universal freedom to be something worth salvaging. By looking at the recent unconventional readings of Kant’s cosmopolitanism and Hegel’s master-slave dialectic, provided by Brain Milstein and Nick Nesbitt, respectively, I adopt an alternative reading of these German idealists in order to argue that contemporary Afrofuturists have reformulated Kant’s and Hegel’s philosophical practices to deconstruct the liberal humanist subject and bring about freedom to the black subject. In doing so, I use the postcolonial works of Frantz Fanon and Sylvia Wynter to bridge the works of Kant and Hegel to the works of Kodwo Eshun and Alexander Weheliye. In closing, I look at how the artists associated with Wondaland Records, or new age Afrofuturists, take the aforementioned reformulations, dating back to the early German tradition, to forever liberate the black subject from the constraints of a white androcentric system, providing the academy with the perfect vehicle for transporting us away from liberal humanism.

Subject(s)

Humanism.

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