Padkos Event: Lewis R. Gordon: “Black Consciousness’ Critique of Secular Theodicy”, 21 October 11am till lunch time

POSTED ON August 7, 2015 BY admin


Reminder: This week – join Aziz Choudry on Friday the 17th, 10am, at the CLP offices.

We are honoured and excited to host Lewis R. Gordon, and we invite all of our Padkos colleagues & comrades to join us on the 21st of October to hear from and engage with him. Anglican Bishop Rubin Phillip has made himself available so he can introduce Lewis and engage in the discussion. Lewis will be exploring “how secular theodicy makes black people into ‘problem people’ and what needs to be done about it”!

Lewis R. Gordon is in South Africa as the current “Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Professor”, based at Rhodes University. Back in the United States, he is professor of Philosophy and African American Studies, with an affiliation in Judaic Studies, at the University of Connecticut. He is a very significant intellectual figure of global stature. He wrote the Cambridge University Press’ An Introduction to Africana Philosophy (2008), as well as the Introduction for the new edition of Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like. Our Padkos friends know that we recently hosted Firoze Manji and focused on the book he recently edited about Amilcar Cabral – well, that collection includes a powerful contribution from Lewis R. Gordon too!

After being named the “Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Professor”, Prof Gordon was interviewed for a Rhodes University publication, Rhodos. Asked about possible teaching themes while he’s here, he answered that he has been “meditating on problems of ‘unjust justice’, of what it means when systems of justice go wrong as we see in the rise of enslavement, poverty, racism, and other forms of human degradation in an age of many gains, supposedly in the spirit of advancing freedom. I have been working on these ideas with special attention to the intellectual offerings from what is known these days as the Global South. … I would like to explore these contradictions along the ongoing concerns of what it means to be human, what it means to be free, and what it means to offer critical reflection on such matters”.

This is not Lewis’ first time in South Africa by any means, and he credits Prof. Mabogo More (from Durban, UKZN) as a central figure in a community of South African thinkers and activists that he has connected with here over the years. But he also has a more personal connection to this country: many Padkos comrades will be aware of the astonishing body of critical intellectual work from Jean and John Comaroff, who are originally from South Africa and are Lewis R. Gordon’s in-laws!

For your padkos sustenance, we’re including both the Biko Intro and the Cabral contribution for you.

Lewis will also address a seminar titled: “Africana Critical Pedagogy” hosted by the Paulo Freire Project on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal at 2:30pm. The focus is Africana philosophical influences on Freire’s thought and critiques from Africana existential phenomenological approaches and other pedagogical considerations for practices of emancipatory education.

Please let CLP know if you plan on coming to either of these great Padkos events – call 033 2644 380 or email

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Lewis Gordon Introduction to I Write What I Like

Lewis Gordon on Cabral 2013