Leonard Harris Reader

A Philosophy of Struggle (Bloomsbury Academic)

Collating, for the first time, the key writings of Leonard Harris, this volume introduces readers to a leading figure in African-American and liberatory thought.


Harris’ writings on honor, insurrectionist ethics, tradition, and his work on Alain Locke have established him as a leading figure in critical philosophy. His timely and urgent responses to structural racism and structural violence mark him out as a bold cultural commentator and a deft theoretician.

The wealth and depth of Harris’ writings are brought to the fore in this collection and the incisive introduction by Lee McBride serves to orient, contextualize, and frame an oeuvre that spans four decades. In his prolegomenon, Harris eschews the classical meaning of “philosophy,” supplanting it with an idiosyncratic conception of philosophy-philosophia nata ex conatu-that features an avowedly value-laden dimension. As well as serving as an introduction to Harris’ philosophy, A Philosophy of Struggle provides new insights into how we ought conceptualize philosophy, race, tradition, and insurrection in the 21st century.


“This book includes the main texts that have marked out Leonard Harris’ continuing combat against all that separate humans from other humans, the human from her humanity. And as we feel the wind blowing through the pages of this Reader, we are reminded that the demand for radical questioning and examination which defines philosophy is first and foremost a force of emancipation.” ―Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, USA

“A Philosophy Born of Struggle: The Leonard Harris Reader, is the only collection of its kind. Leonard Harris pioneered this field of philosophy more than 30 years ago, and this collection shows the extent to which he has defined the field. This is a must read for students within philosophy, especially those within the field of philosophy of race, African and Africana philosophy and philosophies of liberation. This long awaited collection is a global phenomenon as Harris has produced a collection that will enrich the lives of all us across the globe who have for many years followed his work and shared them with others. This is without doubt a monumental read!” ―Rozena Maart, Professor of Philosophy. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

“A timely collection of Leonard Harris’ essays, this book portrays a philosophy born not of wonder but of struggle – a philosophy deeply rooted in the reality of human experiences riddled with genocide, exploitation, and misery – to name but a few. As a leading contemporary thinker, Harris approaches vital topics such as racism, honor and dignity, insurrectionist ethics in a uniquely insightful way that takes the contingency of this universe seriously.” ―Luca Maria Scarantino, President, International Federation of Philosophical Societies, Italy

“Leonard Harris is a true pioneer of Africana Philosophy. This valuable collection of his writings will serve as a great introduction to his work, making clear his contrarianism, his refusal to abide by the conventional wisdom, and his militant and unwavering commitment to bringing about a more just society (especially since the arc of the moral universe has been doing such a bad job!).” ―Charles W. Mills, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, The Graduate Centre, City University of New York, USA

About the Author

Leonard Harris is Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University, USA. He is a specialist in the work of Alain LeRoy Locke and a founding member of Philosophy Born of Struggle (PBOS).

Lee A. McBride III is Associate Professor of Philosophy at The College of Wooster, USA.