Devon Johnson

Devon Johnson

University of Tampa

Dr. Devon R. Johnson is a first generation African-American, hailing from Jamaican ancestry. He is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tampa (Fl, USA). He is the author of a recent monograph, “Nihilism and Antiblack Racism,” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022). Johnson's focus is on questions of Africana philosophy as they relate to the existential phenomena of pessimism, nihilism, and anti-black racism. His research combines interests in black nihilism with studies of black youth, hip-hop, maturity, and investigations into what it means to develop as a strong, existentially healthy, adult, in 21st century antiblack racist societies.

Talk Information:

Black Nihilism: Responding to Antiblack Racism
March 10, 2023 | 9:00 AM

I will present nihilism as an implicit feature of antiblack racism, situating causes and effects for various attitudes and dispositions including pessimism and nihilism for those designated as racially “white” and “black.”  I will articulate white pessimism and nihilism as implicit features of antiblack racism stemming from traditional notions of modernistic human thought, and various forms of black pessimism and nihilism as structured by the existential conditions of living blackness within antiblack racist societies. These paradigms allow for my distinctions between strong and weak possibilities for black nihilistic responses to what I call, “whiteness,” and the white nihilism of antiblack racism.

For further reading:

“The Revolutionary Language of Black Existentialism,” in Danielle Davis (ed.), Black Existentialism. London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019: pp. 59-68.

“Hip Hop Adulthood: Nihilism, Hip Hop, and Black American Youth in the 21st Century,” Social Alternatives: The Critical Philosophy of Race and Decoloniality, vol. 38 4/2019, pp. 42-47.

“Existentially Dope,” The Philosophers’ Magazine, Issue 86. Third Quarter. 2019, pp. 36-43.

“Beyond Tradition: A Short Philosophical Rumination On Africana Philosophy and Nihilism in 21st Century America,” American Philosophical Association: Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience 16, no. 2. Spring 2017): pp. 22–23.