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Lewis R. Gordon, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Lewis R. Gordon on receiving the prestigious Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship in the Department of Politics & International Relations at Rhodes University in South Africa!

Lewis R. Gordon is professor of philosophy, African American studies, and Judaic studies at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. He is an Afro–Jewish philosopher, political thinker, educator, and musician (drums and piano) who grew up in the Bronx, New York, where he attended Evander Child's High School, played jazz in NY night clubs, and went to Lehman College under the Lehman Scholars Program (LSP) where he graduated with honors in political science and philosophy as a member of the Chi chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. His undergraduate mentor and lifetime friend, Gary Schwartz, with whom he also studied Greek and ancient literature, was Director of the LSP. Gordon then taught social studies at Lehman High School, where he founded The Second Chance Program for In–school Truants and then studied for his doctorate at Yale University, where he met his graduate mentor, the great Maurice Natanson, a pheomenologist who was also a child of Yiddish theater in Brooklyn, New York, and whose mentor was Alfred Schutz, the great Austrian Jewish phenomenologist of the social sciences.

Gordon's research in philosophy is in Africana philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of human sciences. His philosophy and social theory have been the subjects of many studies in a variety of disciplines. While he has written on problems of method and disciplinary formation in the human sciences, Gordon has more recently devoted attention to problems in philosophy of physics, especially through a series of ongoing discussions and research projects with his former informal student and now colleague Stephon Alexander, who teaches physics at Dartmouth College. In addition to theories of social transformation, decolonization, and liberation, Gordon's research in social and political philosophy also addresses problems of justice and its normative scope.

As a public intellectual, Gordon has written for a variety of political forums, newspapers, and magazines such as truthout, the Pambazuka News, and The Mail & Guardian, and has lectured across the globe, founded and co–founded journals and organizations, including Radical Philosophy Review and the Caribbean Philosophical Association, of which he was the first president (2003 to 2008). He also participates in several international research groups such as Thinking Africa at Rhodes University in South Africa, The Center for Caribbean Thought in Mona, Jamaica, The Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery in Amsterdam, The Factory of Ideas in Salvador, Brazil, The Forum on Contemporary Theory in Baroda India, The Humanities Institute at the Birkbeck College of Law, The Center for Global Studies and the Humanities (Decolonial Studies) at Duke University, The French–German Summer School in Toulouse, France, and The Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study in Bonn, Germany.

Gordon is married to the political theorist, Jane Anna Gordon. His website is

Lewis Gordon is the offspring of two Jewish communities that converged in his mother. One was the Solomon family, who migrated to Jamaica in the 19th Century. The other was from Ireland under the name of Finikin, who also immigrated there during the same period. Noticing that admission of his Jewish heritage stimulates discussion and reflection on Jewish diversity and history, Gordon has committed himself to working with fellow scholars and community workers dedicated to the re–appearance of Jewish people who have disappeared either by force or neglect. He is the founder and co–director, with his wife Jane Gordon, of the Center for Afro–Jewish Studies at Temple University, a research institute dedicated to developing reliable sources of information on Afro–Jews and Jewish diversity. He is also a research affiliate of the Institute for Jewish Research and Community. Professor Gordon achieved his PhD in Philosophy with distinction from Yale University in 1993. He earned his B.A., with multiple honors, through the Lehman Scholars Program at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York, in 1984, after which he had taught as a Social Studies teacher in the Bronx, where he was also founder of the Second Chance Program at Lehman High School. Professor Gordon is the author of several influential and award–winning books, such as Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism (1995), Her Majesty's Other Children (1997), which won the Gustavus Myer Award for Outstanding Work on Human Rights in North America, Exisentia Africana (2000), Disciplinary Decadence (2006), and his co-edited A Companion to African-American Studies, was chosen as the NetLibrary eBook of the Month for February 2007. His forthcoming books are An Introduction to Africana Philosophy, which will be published by Cambridge University Press, and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age, which will be published by Paradigm Publishers. He is the author of the foreword to Gary and Diane Tobin and Scott Rubin's In Every Tongue (2005), and he is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Afro–Jewish Question and co–editing an anthology on the study of Jewish diversity. Professor Gordon has received many accolades for his work and has lectured internationally.

Lewis Gordon, UConn Philosophy and Africana Studies Professor, speaks at the Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony at the University of Connecticut Student Union.