Dr. Tommy Curry, a renowned scholar, author and philosophy professor who focuses on Africana and Black male studies, has been recognized by the Oxford University Press for one of his recent works.
Curry’s scholarly paper – “Must There Be an Empirical Basis for the Theorization of Racialized Subjects in Race-Gender Theory?” – received the Oxford University Press award for one of the “Best Of Philosophy.” It was published in “Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society” in April 2021.
Known for being outspoken on the plight of Black men in society, Curry is the personal chair of Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. He said he was grateful to be included on the list.
“Research in Africana Philosophy is not often engaged by mainstream philosophy, so it feels great that an article in Critical Race Theory and Black Male Studies has been engaged by so many of my peers and recognized by Oxford University Press,” Curry said according to a press release on Edinburgh’s website.
Raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Curry, 41, left the U.S. and a tenured professorship at Texas A&M University in 2019 so he could fully and freely further his research without the threat of censorship by Republican donors to institutions and violence from alt-right groups.
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“The political climate in the United States has made the study of racism a dangerous option for Black scholars,” Curry told Diverse Education at the time. “Identifying the violence of White supremacy has now become equated to anti-Whiteness. In Europe, there is an effort to understand the Black experience, particularly the Black male experience.”
The renowned academic is speaking from personal experience. In 2017, Curry was the target of death threats after comments he made on Professor Rob Redding’s radio show, “Redding News Review,” about race and violence in 2012 were taken out of context.
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Curry refuses, however, to be silenced.
“When I say I write to give voice to the Black males coerced into silence, I am speaking of the multiple kinds of violence – be it rape, intimate partner violence, or homicide and suicide – that remain unacknowledged throughout various liberal arts disciplines,” Curry told Inside Higher Ed.
“Journals routinely refuse articles, conferences often deny panels on black males, and scholars, both black and white, reject the idea that there should be theories about black men and boys beyond the accounts offered by various feminist or intersectional accounts,” Curry continued.
The aforementioned is a large motivation behind Curry’s book, “The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood,” which won the American Book Award in 2018.
Curry said his work is not a slight to feminists, as many have said, but rather dedicated to destigmatizing Black men from the caricatures they’ve been relegated to throughout history.
“In the U.S., Black males are usually theorized as pathological and defective by gender theorists in the liberal arts,” Curry said. “Black male studies attempts to theorize Black males from the empirical work on Black men showing them to be the most gender progressive and community-oriented individuals in the Black community, as well as the most involved fathers.”
Curry added that he has noted the resistance he faces in the U.S. is stronger than in other nations.
“There is a resistance to understanding Black men beyond the caricatures of them as violent, abusive toward women, and rapists within academic disciplines,” Curry continued. “Institutions and audiences outside the United States have been much more interested in rethinking their relationships to racialized men generally, and Black men, specifically given my research.”
In his research, Curry specializes in critical race theory (CRT), 19th-century ethnology and social-political theory – which many Republicans and right-leaning Americans are trying to dismantle right now.
However, Curry makes it clear, his move to Scotland was not out of fear, but opportunity.
“I think some people like the idea of me being run out of the United States, rather than looking at the move to Scotland as a professional decision that would allow me to develop Black male studies and Africana philosophy without the limitations many Black faculty around the country have described over the last several years under Trump,” Curry said.