DANA FRANCISCO MIRANDA
I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Originally from Brockton, Massachusetts I am the proud son of Cabo Verdean immigrants. My work is in political philosophy, Africana philosophy, and psychosocial studies. I recently graduated with a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Connecticut-Storrs investigating the philosophical significance of suicide, depression and well-being for members of the African Diaspora. I also proudly serve as Secretary for Digital Outreach & Chair of Architectonics for the Caribbean Philosophical Association, Faculty Fellow for the Applied Ethics Center (University of Massachusetts Boston), and Co-Director for PIKSI-Boston.
THE COLONIALITY OF HAPPINESS
My current book project, The Coloniality of Happiness, explores how one can and should understand black wellbeing in a world structured by racism and coloniality. Using primarily the works of the Afro-Martinican psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon and his account of “sociodiagnostics,” this project examines depression and suicide within the African diaspora. Employing existential phenomenology, Africana philosophy, and psychiatric models, I argue that Afro-diasporic subjects face systematic un-wellness under “disordered” socio-political arrangements. In the first part of this I project, I examine how a particular form of depression for Africana people is the result of etiological causes which stem from the ordinarily lived-experience of being black in a “disordered” world. The second part of this project applies the sociodiagnostic method and autoethnography to examine how the disparate consequences of antiblack racism and coloniality affect how a particular subset of the diaspora, Cabo Verdeans, experience depreson. I also reveal how an underlying “coloniality of happiness” structures not only notions of abnormality but also experiences of happiness and well-being for Africana people. The third part of this project compares conventional conceptions of suicide with Africana conceptions of “flight” and “life-risking” resistance to reveal how Afro-diasporic people are willing to face death for the prospect of freedom and wellness. Lastly, I examine how Africana people have responded to “disordered” political orders by constructing “ecstatic communities”—arrangements that are optimal for “nonbeings.”
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
“Hierarchies of Foreignness: The Writing of Man in the New World,” Journal of World Philosophies 6:2 (2021).
“Signals Crossed: White Double Consciousness and the Role of the Critic,” Philosophy of Education 77:3 (2021).
“The Violence of Leadership in Black Lives Matter,” The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press (2021).
“Acts of Reading: Diasporas, Loneliness, and Demons,” Caliban’s Readings (June 18, 2021).
“Book Review: Race and the Making of American Political Science,” The Journal of African American History 106:2 (2021).
“Book Review: Black Madness :: Mad Blackness,” Philosophy and Global Affairs 1:1 (2021).
“Critical Commemorations,” Journal of Global Ethics 16:3 (2020).
“Fluid Memories, Static Monuments,” Disegno: The Quarterly Journal of Design 27 (2020).
“The Future of Alienation and the Possibilities of Fanonian Sociodiagnostics,” EntreLetras 11:2 (2020).
“We All Fall Down,” The APA Blog: Black Issues in Philosophy, August 4, 2020.
"Within the Shadow of Monuments," Blog of the APA, March 26, 2019.
“Africana Philosophy and Depression,” The APA Blog: Black Issues in Philosophy, November 19, 2018.
“Marx: The Historical Necessity of Slavery & Agriculture,” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 13:1, 2017.
“Book Review: Reflections on Tommy Curry's The Man-Not,” The APA Blog: Black Issues in Philosophy, November 14, 2017.
“Dystopic Presents and Decolonial Futures,” Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI-Boston), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 8, 2022.
“The Riot of Disorder,” People on Streets: Critical Phenomenologies of Embodied Resistance, Paderborn University, Paderborn, Germany, May 12-14, 2022.
“Destructuring Monuments,” African American Intellectual History Society, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Virtual Conference, March 11-12, 2022.
Keynote Lecture: “Ecstatic Communities,” Winnie Mandela Speaker Series and Kwanzaa Celebration, Africa Scholars Forum, University of Massachusetts-Boston, December 10, 2021.
“Terror is a Many-Splendored Thing,” Gender, Power, and Conflicts in 20th Century Colonial Africa, African Studies Association, November 16-20, 2021.
“Dreading Disaster: Bad Faith and Conviction in the Wake of Failure,” Radical Philosophy Association: Facing Catastrophe: Environment, Technology, and Media, Online Conference, November 11-13, 2021.
“Emotional Bodies & Degraded Worlds,” North American Sartre Society: “Existentialism and Embodiment,” Online Conference, October 29-30, 2021.
“The Loophole of Captivity: Conversations with Jacobs, Newton, and Abu-Jamal,” Caribbean Philosophical Association: Shifting the Geography of Reason XIX: Black Lives: Matter: Black American Resistance Through Thought, Online Conference, June 18-19, 2021.
Invited Talk: “Admission: The Subject as an Object of Study,” Midlands MAP Festival, Online Presentation, June 11, 2021.
“Repossession: The Ambiguity of Decolonization,” De Beauvoir: New Perspectives for the 21st Century Conference, Online Presentation, June 2-4, 2021.
Guest Lecture: “The Fire This Time: The Disasters of St. Vincent,” Bryn Mawr College and Haverford Environmental Studies, Online Presentation, April 23, 2021.
Panel Discussant: “Is the University Colonial?: Critical Conversations on Its Present,” University of Connecticut and University of Nottingham, Online Presentation, November 30, 2020.
“The Order of Terror and the Things to Come,” Fanon at 95: A Twenty-Day Online Celebration, Caribbean Philosophical Association, Online Presentation, July 1-20, 2020.
“Phenomenology & Psychopathology: Africana Perspectives,” American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 8-11, 2020.
“The Global South as Natural Scarcity,” Caribbean Philosophical Association: Shifting the Geography of Reason XIV: Shifting the Geography of Reason XVI: Resistance, Reparation, Renewal, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, June 6-8, 2019.
Invited Symposium: “The Movement for Black Lives: Leadership and Tactics for Social Change,” American Philosophical Association-Pacific Division, Vancouver, Canada, April 17–21, 2019.
“Well-Being in Disorder,” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy: Inclusive Communities, Columbus, Ohio, March 14-16, 2019.
“Timber Nigger: The Underside of Being Human,” Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, University of California-LA, Los Angeles, California, May 17-19, 2018.
“We Gonna Ill: Addressing Depression in the Africana Diaspora,” Society for the Study of Africana Philosophy, New York, New York, November 19, 2017.
“The Crisis of Black Appearance,” Philosophy Born of Struggle: Theorizing within Revolt: Black Power, Black Life, & Black Thought— The Role of Africana Philosophy in 21st Century Struggles, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, November 3-5, 2016.
“On Being, Illicit Appearance, and Publics,” Phenomenology Roundtable, The University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, June 20-21, 2016.
“Approaching Cadavers: Departure in the African(a) Diaspora,” Caribbean Philosophical Association: Shifting the Geography of Reason XIII: Theorizing from Small Places, The University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, June 16-18, 2016.
“Wretched Spaces: Manichean Divisions in the Arendtian Republic,” Work of Settler Colonialism Symposium, The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, New York, April 2, 2016.
“Unmoorings: Theorizing Spatial Disappearance as a Middle Passage,” In/Visibility: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, UMass Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, March 11-12, 2016.
“Hierarchies of Foreignness: The Writing of Humanity in the New World,” Urban (De)Coloniality & Literature: Comparative Literature Graduate Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, March 3, 2016.
“Depression & Suicide in the African Diaspora: An Ethics of Departure,” Transcending Borders and Disciplines: The Global Importance of Transnationalism, UMass Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, March 7, 2015.
Instructor of Record
The term Africana refers to both African and African-descended peoples who are united through shared struggles against racism and colonialism. Considered as such, Africana Philosophy refers to the thoughts and ideas produced by members of these groups—which includes Afro-Latinos, African Americans, and Luso-Africans, among others—under the disordered conditions of modernity. Due to these struggles, three important themes have come to structure Africana philosophy: freedom (What is “Freedom” given that it can be consistent with institutional slavery and colonialism?), philosophical anthropology (What is “Humanity,” or what does it mean to be human, if this term has not been extended universally?), and meta-critiques of reason (What is “Reason” given that it can function as a tool of oppression?).
Spring 2022 - University of Massachusetts Boston
In this course, we will explore normality and abnormality through the fields of psychiatry, medical science, philosophy, disability studies, madness studies, and psychosocial studies. In particular, students will examine how the concept of mental illness requires uncovering the meanings behind sanity, madness, and deviance. This course will also examine philosophical questions raised by mental “disorder” and our attempts to understand, treat, or live with the condition. Careful consideration will be given to the study of anxiety, depression, psychosis, trauma, delusions, and schizophrenia.
Spring 2022 - University of Massachusetts Boston
“You cannot have untold, obscene wealth unless you have untold, obscene poverty. That is the law of capitalism.” – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
This course introduces the methodological and practical commitments of Marxist theory. We will examine key ideas such as historical materialism, ideology, labor, alienation, capital, and commodity fetishism as both applicable to critiques of capitalism but also as necessary for human emancipation. The class will begin by exploring the earlier works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, as well as their proponents and detractors. Lastly, we will consider some contemporary, global applications of the Marxist tradition. Readings will include works by Rosa Luxemburg, José Carlos Mariátegui, Samir Amin, Mao Zedong, Thomas Sankara, Silvia Federici, Amílcar Cabral, Vladimir Lenin and Andaiye.
Fall 2021 - University of Massachusetts Boston
How is the individual constituted or influenced by society? What possibilities and choices are available for individuals within social systems that are unequal and hierarchical? In this course, we will investigate the individual’s relationship with society through an examination of American society and its moral and social problems. In particular, we will examine both negative and positive practices within the United States, as seen in philosophy and literature.
Fall 2021 - University of Massachusetts Boston (New Version)
This course was also taught in the following semesters:
Spring 2021; Fall 2020.
“What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it.” – James Baldwin
In this course, we will explore the philosophical assumptions behind the concept of race, its entanglement with identity, and the political consequences of racialization and racism. Students will examine how race/raza developed within colonial anthropology and expanded into both biological and social formulations. Because concepts of race and experiences of racism vary across cultures, we will draw from readings across historical, contemporary, and possible future racial categories. This course will also examine thick and thin notions of racism and their connections with race.
Spring 2021 - Muhlenberg College
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin
In this course, we will examine the experience of political freedom as thematized in practices of liberation, slavery, and surveillance. Students will draw from an eclectic mix of genres – speeches, short stories, as well as a graphic novel – to interrogate what political freedom is, what it means, how it arises, what blocks it, and how we might sustain it. Readings will include classic texts by Hannah Arendt, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, Frederick Douglass, and Frantz Fanon.
Fall 2019 - Muhlenberg College
CONVERSATIONS IN ATLANTIC THEORY
The Movement for Black Lives
This discussion is with four contributors to a new collection titled The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives (2021) published by Oxford University Press. We're joined by Dana Miranda, the author of “The Violence of Leadership in Black Lives Matter,” which examines the relationship between movement aims and the distinction between leadership and mobilizations that are leaderfull.
ETHICS IN ACTION PODCAST
Should We Rename Faneuil Hall?
Faneuil Hall, one of Boston's most celebrated public spaces and tourist attractions, is named after Peter Faneuil - an 18th century merchant and slave trader. Nir Eisikovits and UConn's Dana Miranda discuss the debate around renaming Faneuil Hall and place it in the context of the national debate around problematic monuments and memorials - from Charlottesville to Yawkey Way.
ETHICS IN ACTION PODCAST
Monuments, Racism and The Ethics of Public Memory
In the last few months, in the wake of recent protests against systemic racism, Confederate and other monuments have been torn down and defaced. What are these monuments supposed to convey? What's the argument for taking them down? Dana and I revisit our conversation about the ethics and politics of monument removal in light of recent events.
THE MOTIVATIONAL JUMPSTART
A Conversation with Dana Miranda
The Motivational Jumpstart is a podcast created for those looking to improve themselves in life and get little closer to success one day at a time. The Motivational Jumpstart with Michael Mallery is dedicated to influencing minds and inspiring future leaders. This conversation deals with Dana Miranda's philosophical journey and experiences with depression.