Race after Sartre

Antiracism, Africana Existentialism, Postcolonialism

Edited by Jonathan Judaken

Subjects: Philosophy, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Critique, Intellectual History, French Studies
Series: SUNY series, Philosophy and Race
Paperback : 9780791475485, 250 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475478, 250 pages, September 2008

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Table of contents

Part I: Sartre on Race and Racism

1. Sartre on Racism: From Existential Phenomenology to Globalization and “the New Racism”
Jonathan Judaken

2. Skin for Sale: Race and The Respectful Prostitute
Steve Martinot

3. The Persistence of Colonialism: Sartre, the Left, and Identity in Postcolonial France, 1970–1974
Paige Arthur

Part II: Sartre and Antiracist Theory

4. Race: From Philosophy to History
Christian Delacampagne

5. Sartre and Levinas: Philosophers against Racism and Antisemitism
Robert Bernasconi

6. European Intellectuals and Colonial Difference: Césaire and Fanon beyond Sartre and Foucault
George Ciccariello-Maher

Part III: Sartre and Africana Existentialism

7. Sartre and Black Existentialism
Lewis R. Gordon

8. Sartre and South African Apartheid
Mabogo P. More

Part IV: Sartre and the Postcolonial Turn

9. Difference/Indifference: Sartre, Glissant, and the Race of Francophone Literature
Richard H. Watts

10. Violence, Nonviolence: Sartre on Fanon
Judith Butler


Examines Jean-Paul Sartre’s antiracist politics and his contributions to critical race theories, postcolonialism, and Africana existentialism.


Race after Sartre is the first book to systematically interrogate Jean-Paul Sartre's antiracist politics and his largely unrecognized contributions to critical race theories, postcolonialism, and Africana existentialism. The contributors offer an overview of Sartre's positions on racism as they changed throughout the course of his life, providing a coherent account of the various ways in which he understood how racism could be articulated and opposed. They interrogate his numerous and influential works on the topic, and his insights are utilized to assess some of today's racial quandaries, including the November 2005 riots in France, Hurricane Katrina, immigration, affirmative action, and reparations for slavery and apartheid. The contributors also consider Sartre's impact upon the insurgent antiracist activists and writers who also walked the roads to freedom that Sartre helped pave.

Jonathan Judaken is Associate Professor of Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History and Director of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities at the University of Memphis, as well as Co-President of the North American Sartre Society. He is the author of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual.


"Race after Sartre is a timely collection of essays that will be of interest to scholars in postcolonial theory, philosophy, and critical race studies." — The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

"…the essays here are far ranging. While a handful explicitly argue for Sartre's importance to matters of race, most simply assume it, a fact that might constitute a powerful case in itself." — Philosophy in Review

"Jean-Paul Sartre's considerable contributions to comprehending and challenging racism both in its colonial and postcolonial contexts have often been overlooked. Race after Sartre corrects that oversight once and for all, indicating the range, depth, and quality of Sartre's pivotal thinking on metropolitan racism, the colonial condition, the relation of anti-Semitism to anti-Black racisms, the emotional charge of racism, the challenge of racism to freedom and freedom to the range of racisms. But it also signals the importance of the Sartrean corpus to understanding the range of racisms we continue to face today. Jonathan Judaken's collection alters how Sartre will be read, and adds considerably to our understanding of racial matters." — David Theo Goldberg, author of The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism

"This book will go a long way toward restoring Sartre to his rightful place as one of the modern world's greatest political moralists. In it, Jonathan Judaken has assembled an impressive lineup of authors, topics, and essays that demonstrate the continuing vitality of Sartre's thought." — Ronald Aronson, author of Living without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided

"This book demonstrates anew Sartre's ability to write cogently and passionately against oppression and in support of progressive politics." — William L. McBride, author of Sartre's Political Theory

"I like the way the book locates Sartre historically and shows how he still speaks to us today with regard to the important topic of race." — Sonia Kruks, author of Retrieving Experience: Subjectivity and Recognition in Feminist Politics