Robert Gooding-Williams

Robert Gooding-Williams

Robert Gooding-Williams
Ph.D., Yale, 1982

Major Areas of Interest:

- Du Bois
- Critical Race Theory
- History of African-American Political Thought
- 19th Century German Philosophy (especially Nietzsche)
- Existentialism
- Aesthetics

Selected Publications:

- In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America (Harvard University Press, 2009)
- Look, A Negro!: Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture and Politics (Routledge, 2005)
-Zarathustra's Dionysian Modernism
(Stanford University Press, 2001)

Phone: (773) 702-8060
Office: Pick 414

Robert Gooding-Williams (Ph.D., Yale, 1982) is the Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor of Political Science and the College. He is also a Faculty Associate of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory and an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. His areas of interest include Du Bois, Critical Race Theory, the History of African-American Political Thought, 19th Century German Philosophy (especially Nietzsche), Existentialism, and Aesthetics (including literature and philosophy, representations of race in film, and the literary theory and criticism of African-American literature). Before coming to the University of Chicago he taught at Northwestern University (1998-2005), where he was Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities (2003-2005), Adjunct Professor of African American Studies, and an affiliate of the Program in Critical Theory. Before coming to Northwestern he taught at Amherst College (1988-98), where he was Professor of Black Studies and the George Lyman Crosby 1896 Professor of Philosophy, and at Simmons College (1983-88), where he taught philosophy and directed the program in Afro-American Studies.

Gooding-Williams is the author of Zarathustra's Dionysian Modernism (Stanford, 2001), Look, A Negro!: Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture, and Politics (Routledge, 2005), and In The Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America (Harvard 2009). In 2010, In the Shadow of Du Bois won two book commendations: one, for the best book on race, ethnicity and political thought awarded by the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics section of the APSA (American Political Science Association); and the second, an honorable mention citation in relation to the David Easton Award, awarded by the Foundations of Political Theory section of the APSA (the Easton award is for a book, published in the past 5 years, that "broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities").

Gooding-Williams is also the editor of Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising (Routledge, 1993); co-editor (w/David Blight) of the Bedford Books edition of The Souls of Black Folk (1997); and guest co-editor (w/Dwight McBride) of "100 Years of The Souls of Black Folk," the spring 2005 issue of Public Culture, which was a Runner-Up for the Best Special Issue Award in the 2005 CELJ (Council of Editors of Learned Journals) International Awards Competition.

Gooding-Williams's essay, "Race, Multiculturalism and Democracy"(Constellations, Spring 1998), was selected for publication in the Philosopher's Annual, Volume XXI, a collection comprising what the volume's editors judged to be the ten best articles to appear in a journal of philosophy in 1998. Another essay, "Du Bois's Counter-Sublime," was selected for inclusion in the Norton Critical Edition of The Souls of Black Folk. For two years Gooding-Williams was Chair of the APA (American Philosophical Association) Committee on Blacks. He has also served on the Program Committee of the APA Central Division and the Advisory Committee to the Program Committee of the APA Eastern Division. Gooding-Williams has been the recipient of numerous academic fellowships, including two NEH College Teachers Fellowships and a Laurance A. Rockefeller Fellowship awarded by Princeton's University Center for Human Values. In addition, Gooding-Williams has been a member of the Executive Committee of SPEP (Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) and is presently co-editor (with Sally Haslanger, Cynthia Willett, and Ron Sundstrom) of the Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy (, a recently established web publication affording philosophers and other scholars opportunities to discuss current work on race and gender.