Mills, Charles Wade

Mills, Charles W., 1951–2021, philosopher and political theorist, b. London, Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1985. Born in the U.K. and raised in Jamaica, Mills was a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, where he taught since 2016. Prior to joining the Graduate Center, he was the John Evans Professor of Moral Philosophy at Northwestern University. His previous appointments include the University of Illinois, Chicago, the University of Oklahoma, University of Toronto, and the College of Arts and Sciences in Kingston, Jamaica.

A leading thinker in political philosophy, Mills spent his career addressing issues of class, gender, and race. He is best known for his first book, The Racial Contract, which won a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. More than twenty years after its publication, The Racial Contract remains a seminal text in the field of philosophy. Mill served as the president of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association (APA), a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was chosen to give the 2020 Tanner Lecture on Human Values at the University of Michigan. Mills wrote about the historical foundations of white supremacy, the political practice and theory of liberalism, and the metaphysics of race. Mills was also widely known for his work on African American and Africana philosophy, social contract theory, ethics, and Marxism. Mills died on September 20, 2021. According to NPR, Mills "upended the canon of Western philosophy, calling out the whiteness in the discipline and adding the dimension of race to dominant liberal frameworks."

His writings include The Racial Contract (1997), Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (1998), From Class to Race: Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism (2003), Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination (2010), Contract and Domination (co-authored with Carole Pateman, 2013); and Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (2017).

See P. DesAutels and M. U. Walker, eds., Moral Psychology: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory (2004); V. Watson et al., ed., Unveiling Whiteness in the Twenty-First Century: Global Manifestations, Transdisciplinary Interventions (2014); P. C. Taylor et al., ed., The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race (2017); C. Pateman, The Sexual Contract (anniversary ed. 2018); A. Weale, Modern Social Contract Theory (2020).

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