John E. Drabinski is Professor in the Department of African American Studies, with a joint appointment in the Department of English. His writing and teaching focus on the philosophical dimensions of the black Atlantic intellectual tradition, with particular emphasis on postcolonial theory, the francophone Caribbean, and the United States. 

He has published four single-authored books, including most recently Glissant and the Middle Passage: Philosophy, Beginning, Abyss (Minnesota 2019) and Levinas and the Postcolonial: Race, Nation, Other (Edinburgh 2012), which was awarded the Frantz Fanon Book Prize from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. He has edited books and journal issues dedicated to key figures in Atlantic thought, including Frantz Fanon, Jean-Luc Godard, and Édouard Glissant, as well as dozens of articles on themes of memory, language, culture, and politics. He is currently completing a book length study of James Baldwin entitled ‘So Unimaginable a Price’: Baldwin and the Black Atlantic (under contract with Northwestern University Press) and a short book on postmodern motifs in afro-Caribbean thought titled What is the Afro-Postmodern?

Drabinski holds an A.B. (1991) in Philosophy and English from Seattle University and a M.A. (1993) and PhD (1996) in Philosophy from University of Memphis, where he was trained in post-structuralist thought and the foundations of critical race theory. He was formerly Charles Hamilton Houston 1915 Professor of Black Studies at Amherst College and was a fellow at The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University in 2013-1014. He maintains a professional website, at which you can read about his research interests, teaching experience, and current writing projects.


Areas of Interest

  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy


  • Degree Details
    Ph.D. University of Memphis (1996, Philosophy)
  • Degree Details
    M.A. University of Memphis (1993, Philosophy)
  • Degree Details
    A.B. Seattle University (1991, English and Philosophy)

Current Students

Former Students

John E. Drabinski
1119 Taliaferro Hall
African American Studies Department
jdrab [at]