Welcome to the OSU College of Liberal Arts
Workshops on 'Race' and Racism

sponsored by the Philosophy program


Sat. Oct. 21, 2006:
New CLA Research on 'Race' and Racism
featuring the paper
"Housing Discrimination as a Basis for Black Reparations"

Feb 13, 2005:
Racism and the Writings of John Locke

Nov. 13, 2004:
A Roundtable on 'Race' and Racism
An Interdisciplinary Conversation at OSU


New CLA Research on 'Race' and Racism
Oregon State University
Sat. Oct. 21, 2006
Milam 301

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the College of Liberal Arts, with thanks also to the Department of History



The program began with opening remarks by Sharyn Clough, and included two papers that had been the recipients of CLA Research Awards and have since been published.

The first of these was "Racist Beliefs as Objectively False Value Judgments" by
Sharyn Clough  (Philosophy) and  Bill Loges (Sociology/New Media).

You can download their ppt. presentation here. Their paper will appear in The Journal of Social Philosophy 39(1): 7795.



The second of these was "Housing Discrimination as a Basis for Black Reparations" presented by Jonathan Kaplan (Philosophy). His co-author was Andrew Valls (not present).

Their paper has been published in Public Affairs Quarterly. You can download Jon's powerpoint presentation, here. You can get a copy of the paper here. (Note that this is an Author Posting. Kaplan and Valls 2007 This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Public Affairs Quarterly, 21(3): 255-273.)

Jonathan and Andrew were recently interviewed about their paper in the Salem News - read the story here.



Marisa Chappell
(History) was ill and unable to present her paper:
" 'The Black Family' as a Public Policy Issue, 1965-1975".
However you can hear her give some of this material at a presentation for the OSU Center for the Humanities, at 4PM, Nov. 6, 2006.

Pictured above, participants (L-R) Justin Suvoy (student), Paul Kopperman (History), Flo Leibowitz (Philosophy) and Bill Uzgalis (Philosophy).

 After a short break, Tony Vogt (Philosophy/Sociology) and Joseph Orosco (Philosophy) presented their work in progress, "'Race,' Democracy, Citizenship: Towards a Critical Reimagining."

Tony Joseph close up

Tony Joseph    

The program ended with a lively roundtable discussion with all of the participants.

Thanks to Jonathan Kaplan for taking a number of the photos, including this one, featuring some of the previously named participants, plus at the head of the table, Dennis Dugan (student).


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School of History, Philosophy, and Religion

Roundtable on 'Race' and Racism

An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Nov. 13, 2004
OSU Memorial Union

Sponsored by The Philosophy Club and the Philosophy Department

The first round of panelists:

Sharyn Clough, Philosophy, Introductory remarks,followed by (from r-l)
Sunil Khanna, Anthropology:"The biological (mis)constructions of race"
Jonathan Kaplan, Philosophy:"When socially determined categories make biological realities"
Bill Loges, Sociology/NewMedia:"The sociology of values and racism"


The second round of panelists prepare...


From r-l:

Bill Uzgalis, Philosophy: "Locke on race and the multi-cultural state"
Andrew Valls, Political Science: "What is racism?"
Tony Vogt, Sociology, Philosophy: "The cultural ecology of whiteness"
Lani Roberts, Philosophy:"Moral epistemology and race"

The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion open to the speakers and audience members,moderated by Sharyn Clough:


From r-l,
Philosophy MA students Stephen Arthur and Roni Sue
Professors Andrew Valls and Lani Roberts
Philosophy major Dennis Dugan


From r-l
Philosophy major Dennis Dugan
Professors Jonathan Kaplan and Bill Uzgalis
Philosophy major Eric Heltzer
Professor Bill Loges

Participants not pictured, Professors Nabil Boudraa (Foreign Languages) and Flora Leibowitz (Philosophy)

References and readings suggested by the panelists can be found here.

Visit the OSU Philosophy Department Home Page

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Racism and the Writings of John Locke
A Second Roundtable Discussion, Feb. 13/05
hosted by faculty from the OSU Philosophy Department 

Bill Uzgalis begins with an animated description of Locke's views on slavery as expressed in Locke's 2nd Treatise.
Bill Uzgalis (Philosophy), Andrew Valls (Political Science), Bill Loges (New Media/Sociology), Sharyn Clough (Philosophy)

We focused on a debate between Bill Uzgalis, on the one hand, and Robert Bernasconi and Anika Maaza Mann, on the other, concerning:

a) whether Locke's discussion of slavery in his 2nd Treatise can reasonably be read as support for Afro-American slavery; and, if not, whether, 

b) Locke's documented support of the Afro-American slave trade, especially in the years after he wrote the 2nd Treatise, is  inconsistent with his published stance on slavery.

L-R, Philosophy faculty Lani Roberts, Tony Vogt and Jonathan Kaplan weigh the issues.

Our discussion focused on three essays:

1) " '...THE SAME TYRANNICAL PRINCIPLE': Locke's legacy on slavery" by Bill Uzgalis (1998) in Subjugations and Bondage, ed. Tommy L. Lott, Landham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield;

2) "An Inconsistency not to be Excused: On Locke and Racism," also by Bill (2002) from Philosophers on Race, eds. Julie K. Ward and Tommy L. Lott, Oxford: Blackwell; and,

3) "Locke and the Slave Trade" by Robert Bernasconi and Anika Maaza Mann (forthcoming) in Andrew Valls' new edited book Race and Racism in Modern Philosophy, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Right: Bill Loges (New Media/Sociology) shared the majority view that Bill Uzgalis had made a convincing argument in support of the claim that Locke's 2nd Treatise cannot reasonably be read as support for Afro-American slavery. This did, however, leave us with the sad conclusion that one of our Enlightenment heroes, by organising and benefiting from companies that dealt in Afro-American slavery, was not able to live up to the moral standards he'd set for himself.

Left: Stephen Brence (Philosophy) made a compelling case in support of Bernasconi et al,namely, that now that we know that Locke benefitted substantially from Afro-American slave-trading, we should use this knowledge to re-interpret Locke's 2nd Treatise as support for Afro-American slavery. 

This aspect of the debate very quickly got us embroiled in a much bigger debate concerning whether those of us working to end structural oppressions of various descriptions could make any use at all of Enlightenment figures who were themselves so involved in oppressive colonialist practices. To use Audre Lourde's more famous version of the question: "Can the master's tools be used to dismantle the master's house?"

For most of us, the answer was a resounding "We better hope so!" But, of course, the debate continues.

Stay tuned...

A year later ...

In March 2006 at the Pacific meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Portland, Bill Uzgalis shared his paper on Locke with a panel featuring 
Robert Bernasconi, and Anika Mann.

Here's a photo of the panel
, with Bill impressing upon James Farr the brilliance of Bill's position regarding Locke's racism.

(Note: in case of emergency, the fire alarm is within reach.)

L-R: Robert Bernasconi, Anika Mann, James Farr, Bill Uzgalis.
Chair: Andrew Valls.


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