Bill Lawson

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

319 Clement Hall, Memphis, TN 38152
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Bill Lawson

About Professor Lawson

Professor Lawson (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) joined the department in 2005. He has taught at Spelman College, Montclair State College, West Virginia University, the University of Delaware, and Michigan State University. He teaches courses in the areas of African American philosophy and social and political philosophy. He has testified before a Congressional Subcommittee on the issue of Welfare Reform. He was a 2011-12 University of Liverpool –Fulbright Fellow at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool UK.

Selected Publications

Picturing Frederick Douglass, ed.with Celeste Bernier (special issue), African American Review (forthcoming 2016).

Picturing Frederick Douglass, with Celeste Bernier, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Zoe Trodd, John Stauffer and Sally Pierce (W.W. Norton & Co., under contract).

"The Value of Environmental Justice" in Environmental Justice, 1 (2008): 155-58.

"Reflections on Booker T. Washington," in Uncle Tom or New Negro? African Americans Reflect on Booker T. Washington and UP FROM SLAVERY 100 Years Later, ed. Rebecca Carroll (Harlem Moon, 2006).

Pragmatism and the Problem of Race, ed. with Donald Koch (2004, Indiana University Press). Honorable Mention from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.

"Microphone Commandoes: Rap Music and Political Philosophy" in Hip Hop & Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason, ed. Tommie Shelby and Derrick Darby (Open Court, 2005), 161-72.

My Bondage and My Freedom: An Introduction to Frederick Douglass's 'My Bondage and My Freedom' (2002, Humanity Books).

Faces of Environmental Racism, ed. with Laura Westra (2001, Rowman & Littlefield, 2nd. ed.)

Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader, ed. with Frank Kirkland (1999, Blackwell)

"The Expressiveness of African-American Music" in Language, Art and Mind: Essays in Appreciation and Analysis in Honor of Paul Ziff, ed. Dale Jameson (Kluwer Academic, 1994), pp. 131-42.

"Moral Discourse and Slavery" in Between Slavery and Freedom: Philosophy and American Slavery (Indiana University Press, 1992).

Between Slavery and Freedom: Philosophy and American Slavery, with Howard McGary (1992, Indiana University Press)

The Underclass Question (1992, Temple University Press)

Recent & Upcoming Presentations

"Teaching Social and Political Philosophy and Teaching about Frederick Douglass," Liberating Sojourn 2: Transatlantic Abolitionists 1845-1860, University of Liverpool Institute of Latin American Studies (April 2009).

"Self-deceived Hope or Despair: King and Bell on the Ending of Racism," American Philosophical Association Pacific Meetings (April 2009).

"Toward a More Perfect Union: Obama and Color-Blind Public Policy," The Obama Phenomenon: Race and Political Discourse in the United States Today, The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis (April 2009).

"Boxill, Obama, and Colorblindness," American Philosophical Association Eastern Meetings (December 2008).

"Booker T. Washington in the 21st Century," 11th Annual Summer Institute in American Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder (July 2008).

"Toward a More Perfect Union: Obama and Color-Blind Public Policy," Race in 21st Century America: A 3rd National Conference, Michigan State University (April 2008).