Philosophical Gentrification


That the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy recently added five entries on Latin American philosophy is one indication of growing recognition of the area, writes Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia (National Autonomous University of Mexico) in a post at PhilPercs entitled “Against Latin American Philosophy Going Mainstream.” But, he asks, is that increased attention an unalloyed good? He thinks there is some reason for concern:

My main worry is that the mainstreamization of Latin American philosophy, if it ever happens, will not result in the substantial inclusion of Latin Americans into the American philosophical mainstream, but will result instead in the substantial inclusion of mainstream American philosophers (that is, mostly white and mostly male philosophers from American research universities) into the field of Latin American philosophy. Think of it as the gentrification of Latin American philosophy: As Latin American philosophy becomes more and more fashionable, American mainstream philosophers will be more attracted to it and will use their structural power to occupy prominent spaces therein, and displace actual Latin Americans. In the end, instead of more Latin American philosophers being recognised as part of canonical mainstream philosophy, we will have more American philosophers being recognised as part of canonical mainstream Latin American philosophy. 

I take it that this concern about “gentrification” may apply, mutatis mutandis, to some other areas of philosophy, particularly areas of philosophy based (in some sense) on geographic, cultural, ethnic, religious, sexual, or other social groupings. For the purposes of this post we can call these areas of “group philosophy.”

Aspeitia’s concerns about gentrification are based in part on an empirical claim, namely, that as a type of group philosophy becomes more popular with “mainstream American philosophers”, the philosophers who are part of the relevant group who work on that type of group philosophy get “displaced.” That’s one possibility, but not the only one. From the armchair, it seems just as plausible that as mainstream American philosophers gain interest in a type of group philosophy, the professional status of philosophers who are part of the relevant group who work on that type of group philosophy is elevated.

Which empirical hypothesis (if either) is more accurate, I don’t know. We can ask experts in those areas: if we look at the increased interest from mainstream American philosophers in not just Latin American philosophy, but also other areas of group philosophy—for example, African philosophy, African-American philosophy, Arabic philosophy, Asian philosophy, philosophy of disability, feminist philosophy—does it seem like the professional status of philosophers who work on those areas and are members of the relevant groups is improved or worsened? (Aspeitia’s example of the demographic make-up of the contributors to A Companion to Latin American Philosophy is not clear evidence for it being worsened. That about two-thirds of the volume’s contributors are based in the U.S. is compatible with either hypothesis.)

Aspeitia’s post also appears to contain the judgment that if there is a tradeoff between increased attention to Latin American philosophy and increased attention to current Latin American philosophers, the latter is preferable. As I’ve said, I’m not sure there is that tradeoff, but supposing there is, I would be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on it—not just for Latin American philosophy, but other types of “group philosophy,” too.

seesaw image

guest
22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sara L. Uckelman
4 years ago

I can confidently tell you that the field of medieval philosophy has become entirely gentrified. Not a single person currently active in and contributing to the field of medieval philosophy is a medieval philosopher.

(I’ve always found it amusing that one who does mathematical logic is a mathematical logician, one who does philosophical logic is a philosophical logician, but one who does medieval logic is not, sadly, a medieval logician. I guess I still need to perfect that time machine.)Report

PeteJ
PeteJ
4 years ago

I find myself wondering why would we care what group a philosopher belongs to. Why would they care themselves? Report

Manuel Vargas
4 years ago

Apologies for the long comment . . . .

There are smart interesting philosophers everywhere, and it is a shame that there isn’t more engagement with both the present and the history of philosophy in Latin America. For what it is worth, I’ve found engagement with historical and current philosophy produced in Latin America to be extremely profitable for my own philosophical projects. That said, I’m not sure I follow Barceló concern.

Barceló writes that he is concerned that the mainstreaming will not ”substantially contribute to a significant improvement of the situation of Latin American philosophers in mainstream academic philosophy.” I’m not sure how to read the claim. Is the idea that this won’t benefit current Latin American philosophers in terms of increased attention to the work?

To the extent to which U.S.-based scholars are working in the history of Latin American philosophy—and many are—I’m not sure why we should expect such work to significantly improve the situation of current Latin American philosophers (see the point made by the first commentator). But maybe the point is that we should be skeptical about whether this attention will benefit those philosophers doing work in Latin America (whether within the narrower tradition of “canonical” Latin American philosophy, or within the larger set of all philosophy in Latin America)? If that the worry, I agree that the benefits of increased attention aren’t always going to be uniformly good, that they will be shaped by social position, gatekeeping mechanisms, and the like. Who benefits depends on how the conversation goes and who is a part of it. If what we have is a kind of strip-mining, where the contributions of Latin American philosophers are ripped from their sources and the sources are ignored and easily dispensed with, that’s a problem. So, there are real risks here, and maybe that’s what Barceló is pointing out.

As a first pass, though, I would have thought that work in the U.S. that involves reading and responding to work that was or is produced in Latin America will surely have at least some minimal benefits for philosophers in Latin America, in the form of increased attention and uptake to some of the work. And, I’ve argued in print that there would be benefits for the Anglophone world to have more integration with philosophy done in Latin America. But I also don’t think anyone US-based who is doing scholarship on Latin American philosophy thinks it isn’t complicated and ethically delicate to present work done elsewhere to a new community. In some form, I suspect that most people who are at all sensitive about work that crosses familiar subfields feels some pressure to be sensitive to how one portrarys the state of play in those fields outside of whatever one takes as the mainstream.

Here’s a different thought. There is a fight in the field (on both sides of the most salient border) about how to define the field and what the risks are of different ways of defining it. So maybe the concern is meant as a contribution to that discussion, a caution about defining the field in such a way that much of the work of contemporary philosophers in Latin America is ignored?

FWIW, the gentrification worry seems to me a separate and further worry to any of the foregoing. But I confess it is the worry I have the hardest time seeing my way to. I’m not seeing a lot of SEP entries or work on Latin American philosophy by people who are neither born in Latin America, nor of Latin American descent, nor in regular contact and discussion with philosophers and philosophical production in Latin America. But maybe the worry is that there is some reason to think this is going to abrubtly change? If that’s the worry I just don’t see it. I don’t see a lot of departments investing hires in people with any expertise in Latin American philosophy (regardless of how you construe it). (Here’s an exercise: how many Ph.D. departments can you think of with a scholar who self-describes as working in Latin American philosophy? How many of those scholars are white? How many of those departments have more white scholars working on Latin American philosophy than non-white scholars on Latin American philosophy? To be blunt, I’d love for the field to have enough institutional backing and widespread support for gentrification to be a serious threat. That future is so distant, though, that it seems to me that the gentrification worry must be propelled by a concern that I’m just not grasping.
Report

Axel Arturo Barceló
Axel Arturo Barceló
4 years ago

Thank you so much, Victor (and, thank you, Justin for calling attention to my blog post in the first place); this is very helpful. Yes, you are right that the worry is by far underdeveloped, and I hope I can say more to address some of your questions; but be warned that I have little to disagree with on your comment.

When I talk about “improvement of the situation of Latin American philosophers in mainstream academic philosophy” I meant increased recognition to the value of our philosophical contributions, and I guess this means mostly increased attention to and involvement with our work (and I would be surprised if this would not also entail increased credit for our ideas). Thus, I am completely in agreement with you when you claim that “the benefits of increased attention aren’t always going to be uniformly good, that they will be shaped by social position, gatekeeping mechanisms, and the like” and, yes, this is my main motivating worry. I also agree with you that “this seems to be part for the course any time two previously disconnected academic or scientific fields interact”, but you seem to mean this as a reason not to worry (I am not sure of this), when I see it as a reason to worry. If we let things run its course, these mechanisms will unfairly shape the distribution of attention and its concomitant benefits. Thus, it is better if we become aware of how these mechanisms work (your comment does a very good job at this, for example) and see what we can do to neutralise their effects (and how much, when and whether it is worth it). I wish I had a definite answer to your question (ii): “what alternative is there?” (and I think your comments raise a lot of points that would need to be addressed in order to answer such a question) but I would venture that it would involve the debilitation of the barriers that you mention, for example, requiring philosophy graduates to be (at least) bilingual, for starters.



You are completely right that “we are a long way off from Latin American philosophy being mainstream in Anglophone universities”, but I think that is the reason why it is good we are involved in this dialogue now, because if there is a real worry (and I think there is), we are going to need to think hard about what it could be and even harder to implement any kind of solution. So, I am very thankful for your serious engagement with this issue. Furthermore, I am very thankful for the valuable work you and others have made in drawing attention to Latin American philosophy and developing a dialogue between our communities, and I apologise for implying that you are part of the problem, when I meant just what you say: the problem is the material and social context in which this dialogue is taking place. I should have been more explicit about this central point.
Report

Robert Sanchez
4 years ago

I too apologize for the length…

Barceló is right to worry about something here, but I’m not sure “gentrification” is the term. “Theft” may be more appropriate. That is, it seems that the most immediate worry is not whether Latin Americans will (continue to be) excluded from the field, or whether the cons of including more “mainstream American philosophers” will outweigh the pros. The most immediate worry is that institutional mechanisms will continue to exploit the field for institutional or political gain: to hire inside candidates who “say” they have an interest in Latin American philosophy in order to radically narrow the competition; to appease a Dean; to secure funding; etc. In other words, the main worry is not that mainstream American philosophers take a GENUINE interest in the field, but that they don’t – that is, that the dominant interest in the field turns into a form of opportunism.

And while I wouldn’t consider myself a typical mainstream American philosopher, mostly because I work on Mexican and Latin American philosophy, my own experience does not support Barceló’s worry that Latin Americans will be displaced. In fact, I’m not sure how you can do Latin American philosophy today, genuinely and in earnest, without developing and fostering robust working relations with our Latin American colleagues. In our own case, as we put the final touches on an anthology on 20th century Mexican philosophy to be published by OUP early next year – as mainstream as it gets – we are well aware that we couldn’t have gotten to this point without the guidance and ongoing support of several prominent philosophers in Mexico whose names and work we promote here in the US. And we have found it crucial to make our bi-annual symposia on Mexican philosophy also bi-national – and are invited to conferences on Mexican philosophy in Mexico – because, as Guillermo Hurtado (UNAM) suggests in his SEP entry on Mexican philosophy, the promotion of Mexican philosophy on either side of the border today is a trans-national affair.

To substantiate and test Barceló’s worry, we would also have to clarify what he means by “mainstream American philosopher” and “Latin American philosopher,” since it’s not clear if the emphasis is on “mainstream” or “American.” If the worry is that the interest in Latin American philosophy in the US (or in LA) will be displaced by mainstream philosophers, it’s not clear that hasn’t already happened in Latin America. As Berceló points out, almost no one in a major department in the epicenters of Latin American philosophy – Mexico City, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, São Paulo – are concerned with promoting Latin American philosophy as Latin American, and the vast majority of Latin American philosophers are trained in Anglo-American or European departments. So the worry here isn’t whether they will be excluded from mainstream American philosophy AS LATIN AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY GROWS IN THE US; the worry is why they are excluded from mainstream (analytic) American philosophy, period.

And if the worry is that Latin Americans are displaced by Americans, this worry has the potential to conceal the more immediate and troubling worry: the exclusion of Americans of Latin American descent (Latinos/as). What one notices after spending any significant amount of time hanging around Latin American departments is that being a Latino/a in mainstream, professional philosophy in the US is MUCH different from being a Latin American in a Latin American department (not as obvious as it sounds) or even being Latin American in a US department (say, as a graduate student). To put the difference in perspective, to be Latino/a in philosophy today is closer to the experience of being one of the very few, or maybe the only, indigenous philosopher in a Latin American department. Actually, it’s worse: to be a Latino/a interested in Latin American philosophy in the US is like being an indigenous intellectual working on Nezahualcoyotl trying to get a job at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas in Mexico City (an analytic department). I’m not sure it’s ever happened, or if or when it will.

In short, I agree with Barceló that we ought to worry seriously about exclusionary practices as Latin American philosophy grows in the US, but I’m not sure the worry hangs on the color of one’s passport. Instead, we need to think more seriously about institutional racism, implicit bias, power, ambition, and privilege throughout ALL of “American” philosophy (i.e. professional philosophy in the Americas).Report

Enzo Rossi
4 years ago

Think about work on Nietzsche. Since his gentrification who will bother reading the SPEP literature on him, though it has existed for much longer? Whether that’s bad is another question. Report

Grant Silva
Grant Silva
4 years ago

I’m a Latino philosopher who works in a PhD program where some of my white students are interested in Latin American philosophy. Aside from a few “gatekeeping” caveats, I’m all for it if it promotes the specialization of the field. See my contribution to the APA Hispanic Newsletter (note: a revised version is forthcoming): https://www.academia.edu/19567053/Why_the_struggle_against_coloniality_is_paramount_to_Latin_American_Philosophy

The interesting thing at stake here is the link between identity and philosophy. If such fields as Latin American philosophy are supposed to be part of the embodiment of philosophy, a move away from disembodied, “objective” or abstract methodologies, then there is something to the concern/worry about a future Latin American philosophy populated by mostly white men. If the experience of being Latino/a or Latin American matters to the practice of Latin American philosophy, then this filed might be somewhat immune to “gentrification.”

Now, when there are tons of jobs calling for Latin American philosophy as a AOS, perhaps the “gentrification” of the field can take place, but as Vargas said above we are far from that. Also, I don’t think most “mainstream” philosophers will take interest in Latin American philosophy; most want the prestige of being in an “core” area with “rigor.” There are also ongoing normative disagreements about the nature of philosophy that I won’t go into here.

On a related front, I’ve been at APA smokers where another (usually nonLatino) candidate takes interest in my work in Latin American philosophy only to find out what they can do similar to it (more like what they can steal to give themselves a leg up). I’ve also seen people get jobs as Latin American philosophers just because of their Hispanic surname and a promise to do good work in the subfield. More recently, I’ve seen some departments use an AOS like Latin American only to reduce the number of applicant while also diversifying their searches!

Feminism might be an interesting point of comparison. It is more mainstream than LAP nowadays, how many heterosexual men get jobs as a feminist? Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Firstly, if white people are going to learn about Latin American philosophy, then they are going to need to critique it and publish critiques, or they aren’t doing philosophy at all, but just learning doctrine.

Secondly, if Latin American people are going to learn about Latin American philosophy, then they are going to need to access it. A lot of the people working in delivering philosophy, especially in public venues, are white. By all means, we can work to increase the number of Latin American professional philosophers, but in the meantime, this is the state of play. It would be ironic if in the name of fighting “gentrification”, Latin American philosophy remained the province of professional academics.

Thirdly, if Latin American philosophy is going to say anything about whiteness or white people, then critique by white people is going to be very important.Report

JT
JT
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Your claim, “Thirdly, if Latin American philosophy is going to say anything about whiteness or white people, then critique by white people is going to be very important,” brought to mind what I take to be one of the most powerful passages from Sartre’s introduction to Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth.

“What does Fanon care whether you read his work or not? It is to his brothers that he denounces our old tricks, and he is sure we have no more up our sleeves. It is to them he says: ‘Europe has laid her hands on our continents, and we must slash at her fingers till she lets go. It’s a good moment; nothing can happen at Bizerta, at Elizabethville or in the Algerian bled that the whole world does not hear about. The rival blocks take opposite sides, and hold each other in check; let us take advantage of this paralysis, let us burst into history, forcing it by our invasion into universality for the first time. Let us start fighting; and if we’ve no other arms, the waiting knife’s enough.’

Europeans, you must open this book and enter into it. After a few steps in the darkness you will see strangers gathered around a fire; come close, and listen, for they are talking of the destiny they will mete out to your trading-centres and to the hired soldiers who defend them. They will see you, perhaps, but they will go on talking among themselves, without even lowering their voices. This indifference strikes home: their fathers, shadowy creatures, your creatures, were but dead souls; you it was who allowed them glimpses of light, to you only did they dare speak, and you did not bother to reply to such zombies. Their sons ignore you; a fire warms them and sheds light around them, and you have not lit it. Now, at a respectful distance, it is you who will feel furtive, nightbound and perished with cold. Turn and turn about; in these shadows from whence a new dawn will break, it is you who are the zombies.”Report

Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
Reply to  JT
4 years ago

I’m glad someone brought this up. My thoughts on this matter are actually very much inspired by this passage. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  JT
4 years ago

I do apologize. I accidentally reported this post. Sorry again Justin. I did that by accident just yesterday. 🙁 New mouse.Report

Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
4 years ago

Interesting issue. A point of comparison to start with is Tommie Curry; he has written about the gentrification of Critical Race Theory.
https://www.academia.edu/12673480/_Draft_Canonizing_the_Critical_Race_Artifice_An_Analysis_of_Philosophy_s_Gentrification_of_Critical_Race_Theory

I take it that the concern is this. Those people with a real interest and desire to contribute to the field of Latin American philosophy, or who would have such an desire, will be displaced by those who are less invested in the tradition and just want to benefit from the increased value of the real estate. Now it just happens that typically the former are brown folks and the gentrifiers are white. Thus, dynamics of subordination and social hierarchy in the society come to be mirrored in philosophy. (Note: I take it that Grant’s essay in the APA newsletter is motivated some concern like this; in the same newsletter, I offer some commentary on the matter: https://www.academia.edu/14079189/Report_on_the_2015_Fleishhacker_Chair_Lecture_and_Latin_American_Philosophy_Conference.)

I think this is one part of the suggestion. The other is that the mainstreaming of Latin American philosophy will result in a pilfering of the tradition for just those things which Anglophone philosophers think is valuable. This is an issue if we think that the epistemic framing of these different traditions are importantly tied to the content of the work. The worry, then, is that Latin American philosophy in the US will become an extractive project, and thus a form of epistemic colonialism, if you will.

I think these are both real concerns. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
4 years ago

By “pilfering” do you mean taking credit for ideas, or does merely taking them on board count as “pilfering”? Personally, I intend to take on any good idea I can find in any philosophical tradition while avoiding taking on the bad ideas. I would like to see everyone else doing the same.Report

Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Hello, thanks for the reply.

I suppose what I meant was this. Consider the case of Indigenous Knowledges (sometimes called “traditional knowledges” in science studies). There are medical practices that particular communities develop within their own epistemic traditions. For instance, Londa Schiebinger has talked about how the uses of certain plants for the purposes of inducing abortion. Now, westerners might look at this and think “Hey, that’s pretty neat. Let’s figure out how to use it so white couples can have access to safer and non-invasive abortions.” This, of course, would not be a bad thing. But, by hypothesis, the usage of this plant for this purpose is embedded within a whole network of practices, beliefs and values that would then be lost to us, for we are only interested in what the knowledge of the plant will do for us, how it will serve us in getting things we value (this would include having greater scientific knowledge, say, in addition to the material access to the abortificient plant).

From the epistemic perspective, though, notice that we have extracted epistemic resources from a practice, but only to those parts of the practice that, on our epistemic frame, count as “real knowledge.” The point is that when this is done, indigenous knowledges (and perhaps people) are not the primary beneficiaries; it is rather westerners (materially) and western science (epistemically). Notice, furthermore, from the epistemic perspective, that indigenous knowledges become validated (as knowledge) only to the extent that what they have to say can be translated into the kind of information we could make use of to further our own projects. Think about it this way: when the Spaniards took the Aztec gold, it was melted down. Why? The Spaniards had no use for the original artifacts; they only cared about the gold for the ways in which they could use it.

I haven’t developed the idea much further, but I imagine something analogous to this when I talk about pilfering.Report

JT
JT
Reply to  Julio Covarrubias-Cabeza
4 years ago

This is very much on point. Though truth-seeking is of course a constitutive end of philosophical inquiry, it is a mistake to affirm it to the exclusion of the equally important hermeneutical aims of those who labour to deepen and preserve our understanding of philosophically significant but superseded traditions. Even those, like myself, who are generally uninterested in recovering and working out, e.g., the philosophy of Spinoza, recognise that this is of philosophical value, even if much of Spinoza’s thought is ultimately misguided. I take it that the worry here is that ‘mainstream’ philosophers will appropriate what is of value to them from Latin American tradition but fail to recognise or outright deny the tradition’s own intrinsic value, like vultures that descend on a carcass only to abandon it once it’s picked clean of meat, because, unlike the Spinozistic tradition, it is not continuous with their own.Report

Mainstream Philosopher
Mainstream Philosopher
4 years ago

…So what exactly are the white philosophers that make up the mainstream supposed to do?

If white philosophers do not concern themselves with Latin American, African, Indian, Chinese, etc. philosophy then they’re almost certainly missing out on valuable thoughts. But if I understand the point of this post, involvement in said fields on their part poses a danger in the form of reappropriation of said subfields and marginalization or ‘forcing out’ philosophers in those fields who are ethnically embedded in those subfields.

So if “mainstream” (white) philosophers don’t engage with the work in these subfields, they’re ethnocentric assholes. If they do engage with the material, they’re reappropriation something which, in some sense, doesn’t belong to them. Are they supposed to read the material and listen to the talks in silence, effectively not engaging at all?

It’s just unclear (to me at least) what “mainstream” philosophers are supposed to do. It seems that they’re unavoidably going to be chastised. Report

JT
JT
Reply to  Mainstream Philosopher
4 years ago

So, Latin American philosophers come forward with concerns grounded in the general worry that those steeped in the Anglo-American tradition will live up (or should that be ‘down’?) to the worst stereotypes of ‘analytic’ philosophy. And, instead of showing them the respect owed to scholarly interlocutors, which requires genuinely trying to understand where they’re coming from (even if we ultimately disagree), your response is to dismissively and rather glibly attempt fork their fears on a dilemma centred around yourself that makes their claims out to be so much straw? Way to rise to the occasion, buddy.

But, to take a stab at your ‘question’, how about listening in an engaged way, instead of in disengaged silence? It’s actually not hard, since we’ve all had to do it at some point in our careers, given the near ubiquity of historical requirements and the extent with which we are actually a fairly interdisciplinary bunch. And ‘What way is that?!’, you ask? Well, remember the mindset you were encouraged to cultivate when reading, say, the pre-Socratics for the first time? It’s that. It’s approaching not just particular works, but the whole tradition (i.e., the intellectual, cultural, historical, and political context in which the work is embedded) with the openness and generosity that befits a novice to just about anything. Report

Robert Sanchez
Reply to  JT
4 years ago

Nicely put, JT. I was going to say something similar, so let me just add this:

It’s this kind of dilemma, as well as Mainstream Philosopher’s not-so-uncommon defensiveness, that led me to say that the worry is not WHETHER mainstream philosopher’s take an interest in marginalized group philosophies, but HOW they do or don’t. I’m not worried if the “‘mainstream’ (white) philosopher” doesn’t take an interest in the philosophy I do, because, well, I have philosophy to do. Like Fanon – JT’s passage above – I’m fine huddling around the fire talking amongst ourselves … so long as it’s on an equitable, inclusive, non-racist campground. And, like Grant (above), I’m fine if mainstream philosophers do take an interest, but only so long as their interest is genuine, not opportunistic (my comment above).

This is not a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. This is just, as JT suggests, an opportunity to be respectful, open-minded, and charitable, regardless if you choose to speak up or remain silent. And it’s an opportunity, if we adopt this posture, to change the culture of professional philosophy, which still has a long way to go before it can consider itself inclusive, equitable, and non-racist. (And just to state what may be obvious, so as to pre-empt any defensiveness on the last point, an institution can be racist even if non of its members (vocally) are.)Report

Amy Reed-Sandoval
Amy Reed-Sandoval
Reply to  Robert Sanchez
4 years ago

I agree that “mainstream philosopher” has presented a false dilemma, and I wanted to respond to these claims as a non-Latina who is interested in Latin American philosophy (as well as more “mainstream” Anglo-American political philosophy). As RS says above, this is not a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. That said, being a [email protected] working in LAP does present complex ethical challenges that must constantly be negotiated and re-negotiated. And responding to these challenges often demands a type of work and engagement that is not always encouraged/respected/rewarded in “mainstream” academic philosophy. For instance, [email protected]/Latin Americans working in LAP should — if financially possible — try to spend a significant amount of time in Latin America (in dialogue with Latin American communities) in order to learn about salient sociopolitical issues being debated and confronted there. Along similar lines, folks working on, say, U.S. [email protected] philosophy should strive to be in regular dialogue with U.S. [email protected] communities. They/we should certainly (obviously!) engage the philosophical contributions of Latin Americans and [email protected] — and also present their/our work with regularity to Latin American and [email protected] philosophers for critical evaluation and scrutiny. (Of course, uptake should then be given to this evaluation and scrutiny in the context of one’s philosophical work.) In addition — and somewhat by way of response to the original post — being a [email protected] working in LAP presents an ethical requirement to use one’s academic/structural position to support, in different ways, Latin Americans and [email protected] in philosophy. These are but a few “requirements” (and there are surely more that I have not yet become aware of! I’m still reflecting and learning in this regard as part of an ongoing conversation) and I think they are generally quite navigable. But, once again, this sort of professional behavior is not always encouraged, supported and understood in our discipline. However, the fact that this sort of engagement isn’t always expected in mainstream academic philosophy certainly doesn’t mean that it ought not to be done, or that you are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. (By the way, “mainstream philosopher” should check out the earlier posts in which Latinx philosophers are very clearly encouraging, albeit with some caveats, widespread engagement with the Latin American philosophical tradition!)Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Mainstream Philosopher
4 years ago

What should mainstream philosophers do? They should treat Latino philosophy with the same curiosity, charity and skepticism that they (hopefully) show to mainstream philosophy. They should hunt for the truth, taking any good ideas they can find and working to weed out the bad ones. Like any philosopher, they should never ever allow themselves to be told that a theory is not for them to question.Report

Pere Manrique
Pere Manrique
4 years ago

I think that the main problem here is understanding what “latin american philosophy” stands for. Are Mr Barceló and colleagues “latin american philosophers” because (1) they do a particular kind of philosophy (particular problems, questions, world views) that could only be approached from a latin american “perspective” or is it because (2) they do mainstream philosophy but happen to work in Latin America? If (2) their problem has nothing to do with “gentrification” but with recognition. This problem is not particular to latin americans, but to anyone not working in american universities. If (1) then he has sometihing interesting to say. However, a quick google search shows that Mr. Barceló and colleagues are mainstream philosophers working in non.american universities so much of this post, as interesting as it is, is not talking about a philosopphical subject being hijacked by mainstream AMERICAN scholars, but about recognizing that philosophers working at non-american universities (or non-english speaking universities to be more accurate) are as good and as interesting as those working at “mainstream” universities.Report

Grant Silva
Grant Silva
Reply to  Pere Manrique
4 years ago

I don’t think Barcelo claims to be a “Latin American philosopher,” or at least that’s not what I gather from the above comment. I’m of the opinion that it’s #1, but it’s simplified by calling it a “perspective.” In other venues, I’ve expressed a concern about what you describe as 2. If that’s what people think LAP is then the field won’t ever grow, specialize or mature such that whites take it over. I understand the need to include as many as possible, and I’ve been labeled an exclusionist on this front, but we jeopardize the field when we think along the lines of #2.

Let me put it this way. Does being a woman in philosophy entail that one’s a feminist? No. Does the fact that one’s a U.S. citizen render them an “American pragmatist”? No. Why the heck does one get to be a LAP just because they are Latino or live in Latin America?
Report