Posts filed under Christopher Driscoll

[Video] On the Occasion of Joseph Conrad's Death, Driscoll - Lecture @ FIPH

On June 13, 2017, I delivered a bit of new work to the folks at the Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie Hannover (FIPH), where I've been a fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year. Below is the abstract for the talk, "On the Occasion of Joseph Conrad's Death: Anti-Heroes and Negative Dialectics in the Western Imagination, Still." The talk turns to some interesting data from Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford (and others) to think about Conrad's life and death as an allegory for contemporary anxieties surrounding the death or collapse of the West. Take a look here at or at the FIPH Vimeo page (which has a lot of material you might find interesting).

“You will ask: Why death? Why not some alternative? Flight or prison? Well: prison would be an unendurable travelling through Time, flight an equally unendurable travelling through Time with Space added. Both these things are familiar: Death alone, in spite of all the experience that humanity has had of Death, is the utterly unfamiliar.” -Joseph Conrad
English Modern writer Joseph Conrad is a spectre, neither living nor dead, but a perpetual haunting for westerners in the form of his literary legacy and the anti-heroic stories he wrote, which force readers into a confrontation with the banality and smugness of western arrogance. By this reading, Conrad also serves as an analogy for western notions of loss, melancholy, and (cultural) death, writ large, today. At once alive yet under seeming threat from an “other” that over time has been rendered as “all” others, westerners – whoever we may be – might find wisdom in lamenting the death of Conrad. This lecture turns to lesser known works of Conrad just before his death (in 1924), along with fellow authors’ thoughts on Conrad’s death, to explore the relationship of anti-heroes, negative identities, and their god of death.

Thanks for taking a look!


Humanism in a Non-Humanist World, ed. by Monica R. Miller

On September 8, 2017, Palgrave Macmillan is releasing Humanism in a Non-Humanist World, edited by Monica R. Miller, and part of its Studies in Humanism and Atheism series. Humanism in a Non-Humanist World is filled with a wide-ranging set of humanist, atheist, and freethinker voices. If you're interested in identity and/or humanism, pick up a copy or ask your institution/library to purchase a copy. The essays are fun, informative, and accessible. I was humbled that Miller asked me to contribute not one, but two chapters to the volume.

Available on  Amazon  for pre-order now. Send the link along to every humanist you know!

Available on Amazon for pre-order now. Send the link along to every humanist you know!

My first contribution, co-authored with Elonda Clay, is "Secular Voices of Color - Digital Storytelling." Here we look at Sincere Kirabo's powerful "Secular Voices of Color" project. Here's an example from Kirabo's project, featuring well-known humanist scholar Anthony B. Pinn:

The second contribution is "Rudy's Paradox: The ALIENation of Race and Its Non-Humans," where I ask if humanists might be willing to learn from "alien" voices of unlikely sorts. Here's a video from Rudy of Germany, the Tall White Alien. Believe it or not, humanists can learn a thing or two from Rudy:

Thanks for helping spread the word about the volume! Email with any questions!



First Impressions #87: Christopher Driscoll on White Lies, Race, and American Religion

Originally posted here at Marginalia Review of Books. Take a listen and let me know your thoughts! And of course, if you haven't taken a look at the book, please take a moment to pick it up here or email your institution's librarians and request they purchase a copy. 

The Not-So-New ‘New’ Natives: Thoughts on Paris

Savagery is not descending on Europe. To suggest as much would be a misnomer, a white lie. No, it is colonialism that is once again descending onto the continent. French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre concludes his 1961 Preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth by suggesting that Europeans have turned into the “native.” From Sartre’s perspective, Fanon helps to explain (to the European) why “it is better to be a ‘native’ in the pit of misery than an erstwhile colonist.’ 

What's Really behind the Confederate Flag Protests?

On this year’s 4th of July holiday, many white Americans are feeling their identity encroached upon and their opinions ignored. Especially in the south, many whites feel that the recent focus on removing the confederate flag from public spaces is an attack on our heritage, our past, and our very identities. Here is the totality of what white southern identity looks like, as some would have us think:

Uncertain Humanism and the Water of Whiteness


IN 2005, one of today’s most revered American writers, David Foster Wallace (now deceased), delivered a commencement address to graduates of Kenyon College, titled “This Is Water.” The twenty-minute speech is worth a listen or read, freely available on YouTube and in Wallace’s eponymous 2009 collection, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life. Some of what he says in the address about liberal arts education is applicable to humanism. In particular, his words help to color a brand of humanism I refer to as “uncertain humanism,” a way of privileging human possibilities for flourishing that relies on an embrace of and appreciation for uncertainty—for not knowing, feeling anxious, insecure, and unsettled. Uncertain humanism is not just about how we approach “facts.” It involves how we approach our very identities and who we think we are.

Continue reading at The Humanist Magazine July/August 2015...