Tommy Curry (professor)

Last updated
Tommy J. Curry
Academic background
Alma mater DePaul University,
Southern Illinois University
Academic work
Sub-disciplineAfricana Philosophy and Black Male Studies
InstitutionsTexas A&M University,
University of Edinburgh

Tommy J. Curry is an American scholar, author and professor of Philosophy. He currently holds a Personal Chair in Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies at the University of Edinburgh. [1] In 2018, he won an American Book Award for The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood.



In 2004, Curry received his masters at DePaul University and his doctorate in philosophy from Southern Illinois University in 2009. His dissertation, Cast Upon the Shadows: Essays toward the Culturalogic Turn in Critical Race Theory, explored the political philosophy of Derrick Bell using only Black authors and theorists. His dissertation remains the only known work to have done this in the discipline of philosophy. In 2008-2009, Curry was a post-doctoral fellow at Penn State University in the Africana Research Center. [2] His main research areas include critical race theory, Black Male Studies, and Africana philosophy. [3]


Curry is the author of The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood. [4] In academic circles, The Man-Not is regarded as controversial for its discussion of the rape of Black males during slavery by white men and women, its depiction of white feminism as the perfection of patriarchy and American imperialism, and the text's documenting of the rape and domestic abuse Black males suffer at the hands of Black men and women in their communities. However, The Man-Not has received multiple positive reviews in Masculinity Studies, Black Studies, and Gender Studies journals. [5] In August 2018, the Before Columbus Foundation announced that The Man-Not would be awarded a 2018 American Book Award for its original contribution to American literature and thought. [6] Curry's book argues for the creation of a new field of study looking at the experiences and historical development of racialized men and boys the world over.

In 2018, Temple University Press made Curry editor of the Black Male Studies series which Curry has claimed is the first book series specifically dedicated to the study of Black men and boys and racialized males to ever be supported on a University Press. [7]

Much of Curry's writing is based on combining social science research with philosophy and theory. He claims that many of the theories offered to explain the lives of Black Americans are not only incorrect but relies on outdated racist modes of thinking. As a scholar of Critical Race Theory, Curry's work focuses on the theories developed by racial realists like Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Jean Stefancic, and Kenneth Nunn. He argues that idealist strands of CRT are unable to account for the brutal realities of Black death and dying, poverty, and de facto segregation.

2017 Controversy

In 2017, Curry was targeted by conservatives and white nationalists for previous statements he had made comparing revolutionary violence and armed self-defense in the United States in a podcast analyzing Jamie Foxx's lead character in Django. [8]

Snopes and news sources have vindicated Curry, noting that his words and research had been taken out of context. [9] [10] Curry's name appeared in national publications as a symbol of academic freedom garnering support and drawing attention to the risks Black professors take on in their discussion of race and racism in American universities. [11] [12] [13]


In addition to the American Book Award, Curry has received several academic awards and honors for his research. In 2017, Curry was awarded the Alain Locke Award by the Society of American Philosophy for his public intellectual research and commentaries on anti-Black racism, the death and dying of Black males, and the rape of Black men and boys in the United States. [14] His publications and national profile earned him recognition as one of the Top 15 Emerging Scholars of Color in the United States by Diverse Magazine in 2018. [15] In 2020, his second monograph, Another white Man's Burden: Josiah Royce's Quest for a Philosophy of white Racial Empire, won the Josiah Royce Prize in American Idealist Thought from the Josiah Royce Society. [16]


Related Research Articles

Josiah Royce American philosopher

Josiah Royce was an American objective idealist philosopher and the founder of American idealism. His philosophical ideas included his version of personalism, defense of absolutism, idealism and his conceptualization of God.

Manning Marable American academic (1950-2011)

William Manning Marable was an American professor of public affairs, history and African-American Studies at Columbia University. Marable founded and directed the Institute for Research in African-American Studies. He authored several texts and was active in progressive political causes. At the time of his death, he had completed a biography of human rights activist Malcolm X titled Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (2011), for which Marable won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History.

Patricia Hill Collins African-American scholar

Patricia Hill Collins is an American academic specializing in race, class, and gender. She is a Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is also the former head of the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Cincinnati, and a past President of the American Sociological Association. Collins was the 100th president of the ASA and the first African-American woman to hold this position.

Critical race theory (CRT) is the theory that law is inherently racist and that race is a social construct that exists to maintain elite interests. It began in the 80s as a reworking of critical legal theory on race issues. Both critical legal theory and critical race theory are rooted in critical theory, a Marxist social philosophy which argues that social problems are influenced and created more by societal structures and cultural assumptions than by individual and psychological factors. Two tenets shared by most practitioners of CRT are:

Lewis Gordon

Lewis Ricardo Gordon is an American philosopher at the University of Connecticut who works in the areas of Africana philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology, social and political theory, postcolonial thought, theories of race and racism, philosophies of liberation, aesthetics, philosophy of education, and philosophy of religion. He has written particularly extensively on Africana and black existentialism, postcolonial phenomenology, race and racism, and on the works and thought of W. E. B. Du Bois and Frantz Fanon. His most recent book is titled: What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction To His Life And Thought.

Charles Wade Mills is a Caribbean philosopher from Jamaica. He is known for his work in social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. Mills is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, in New York City.

Tukufu Zuberi

Tukufu Zuberi is an American sociologist, filmmaker, social critic, educator, and writer. Zuberi has appeared in several documentaries on Africa and the African diaspora, including Liberia: America's Stepchild (2002), and 500 Years Later (2005). He is one of the hosts of the long-running PBS program History Detectives. As founder of his own production company, he produced the film African Independence, which premiered at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January 2013. He is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, and professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert L. Bernasconi is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. He is known as a reader of Martin Heidegger and Emmanuel Levinas, and for his work on the concept of race. He has also written on the history of philosophy.

<i>Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch</i>

Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality is a book by Dwight A. McBride on ethno-relational mores in contemporary gay African America with a nod to black, feminist and queer cultural contexts "dedicated to integrating sexuality and race into black and queer studies."

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is an American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and a leading scholar of critical race theory who developed the theory of intersectionality. She is a full-time professor at the UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School, where she specializes in race and gender issues. Crenshaw is also the founder of Columbia Law School's Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) and the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), as well as the president of the Berlin-based Center for Intersectional Justice (CIJ). Crenshaw is known for the introduction and development of intersectionality, the theory of how overlapping or intersecting social identities, particularly minority identities, relate to systems and structures of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Her scholarship was also essential in the development of intersectional feminism which examines the overlapping systems of oppression and discrimination to which women are subject due to their ethnicity, sexuality and economic background.

Joe Feagin

Joe Richard Feagin is a U.S. sociologist and social theorist who has conducted extensive research on racial and gender issues, especially in regard to the United States. He is currently the Ella C. McFadden Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University. Feagin has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, University of California, Riverside, University of Texas at Austin, University of Florida, and Texas A&M University.

Tommie Shelby

Tommie Shelby is an American philosopher. Since 2013, he has served as the Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University. He is particularly known for his work in Africana philosophy, social and political philosophy, social theory, and the philosophy of social science.

Africana philosophy is the work of philosophers of African descent and others whose work deals with the subject matter of the African diaspora.

Alfred E. Prettyman is an American publisher.

"Africana womanism" is a term coined in the late 1980s by Clenora Hudson-Weems intended as an ideology applicable to all women of African descent. It is grounded in African culture and Afrocentrism and focuses on the experiences, struggles, needs, and desires of Africana women of the African diaspora. It distinguishes itself from feminism, or Alice Walker's womanism. Africana womanism pays more attention to and focuses more on the realities and the injustices in society in regard to race.

James Arthur Bayton was an American psychologist. He conducted research in areas of personality, race, social issues, and consumer psychology.

George Dewey Yancy is an American philosopher who is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. He has been a professor of philosophy at Emory University since fall 2015. He is also a distinguished Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, one of the college's highest honors. In 2019-20, he was the University of Pennsylvania's Inaugural Provost's Distinguished Visiting Faculty Fellow. He is also the editor for Lexington Books' "Philosophy of Race" book series. He is known for his work in critical whiteness studies, critical philosophy of race, critical phenomenology, and African American philosophy, and has written, edited, or co-edited more than 20 books. He has also authored over 150 scholarly articles and chapters. Yancy has also authored numerous influential essays and conducted provocative interviews at The New York Times' philosophy column "The Stone." Yancy has been interviewed on various radio stations throughout the U.S. He has also appeared in two documentaries, Lillian Smith: Breaking the Silence, an independent documentary directed by Hal Jacobs and Henry Jacobs, with support from Georgia Humanities, 2019, and Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, a six-episode series released on July 30, 2018 on Paramount Network. Series was directed by Jenner Furts and Julia Willoughby Nason. Executive producers: Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Jay-Z, Chachi Senior, Michael Gasparro, Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason, and Nick Sandow.

Matthew Windust Hughey is an American sociologist known for his work on race and racism. He is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, where he is also an adjunct faculty member in the Africana Studies Institute and the American Studies Program. His work has included studying whiteness, race and media, race and politics, racism and racial assumptions within genetic and genomic science, and racism and racial identity in white and black American fraternities and sororities.

Crystal Marie Fleming American sociologist and author

Crystal Marie Fleming is an American sociologist and author. She is an associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at Stony Brook University. Fleming is the author of two books about race and white supremacy.

Juliet Hooker Nicaraguan political scientist

Juliet Hooker is a Nicaraguan political scientist, currently a professor of political science at Brown University. She is a political philosopher who focuses on racial justice, the theory of multiculturalism, and the political thought of the Americas.


  1. Pettit, Emma (2019-02-28). "Tommy Curry, Whose Remarks on Race Made Him a Target, Is Leaving the U.S. for Scotland". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN   0009-5982 . Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  3. "Tommy Curry | Professor" . Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  4. "Tommy Curry discusses new book on how critical theory has ignored realities of black maleness".
  5. "Temple University Press".
  7. "Temple University Press".
  8. "What is a black professor in America allowed to say?". The Guardian. 2017-08-03. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  9. Palma, Bethania. "Did a Texas A&M Professor Advocate Killing White People?".
  10. Gruenling, Jessica. "Texas A&M professors defend colleague's comments".
  11. Serwer, Adam (26 September 2017). "A Nation of Snowflakes". The Atlantic.
  12. Gottbrath, Laurin-Whitney. "Threats and attacks: White supremacists target campuses".
  13. "Furor over Texas A&M philosopher's comments on violence against white people".
  14. "Dr. Tommy Curry receives The Alain Locke Award for Public Philosophy".
  15. Hong, Joseph (25 January 2018). "Emerging Scholar Profile: Curry and the Relevance of Philosophy".
  16. Josiah Royce Society: Awards & Prizes or empty |title= (help)