Press Release—The Caribbean Philosophical Association’s 2020 Award Winners

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the association’s awards for contributions to philosophical thought, literature, and mentorship:


Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Lifetime Achievement Award

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is honoring Frankétienne for his work as an inspiring writer, poet, painter, musician, dramaturge and philosopher.  According to the letter of nomination, “He has graced humanity with a body of philosophical letters and thought-provoking aesthetic that compellingly sheds light on the Caribbean’s contribution to uphold the integrity of the world and its inhabitants. His intellectual and artistic production attest to the Caribbean’s intellectual and philosophical boldness and, as a matter of fact, Frankétienne says, ‘il faut oser sa cause,’—one must dare one’s cause.”

Frankétienne’s writes in Creole and French. Finding inspiration, with other writers and thinkers, in the scientific theory and philosophical concept of the spiral, he offered the world of thought the concept of Spiralism, which, according to him, pervades our everyday life and allows him to create indefinitely. Spiralism is undeniably enriching the scope, breadth and depth of the worlds of literature, the arts, and theory. Despite being harassed by the former Haitian dictatorship, he never left and remained in Haiti to participate in the upliftment of his society.

Frankétienne’s achievements are such that the Swedish Academy has considered him for the Nobel Prize in literature in 2010, and he still is on their list of potential candidates. Both generationally and through his intellectual stature, Frankétienne belongs to the category of Caribbean writers and thinkers such as Maryse Condé, George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Edouard Glissant, and the namesake of this award, Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén.

In the words of President Hanétha Vété-Congolo: “Not only is his contribution meaningful and useful but in addition, it is simply beautiful, with the capacity to brighten and energize life in a world that is often entangled in obscure and dull moments and thoughts.”  In her letter congratulating him, she adds:


Mi bèl plézi, mi bèl bagaj. Sé lonnèépi rèspé ou pòté ban nou, sé lonnè épi rèspé nou ba-w. Travai-la ou fè-ya ban nou la-a, ki sé matjé liv, kabéché rèd, lanmizik ouben lapenti, sé vréyé ou vréyé-nou monté. Ou sé an potalan, an mètamannyòk lavwa, lapawòl Lakarayib. Mèsi anpil, anchai épi anlò toubannman.

Vous êtes l’un de nos plus grands penseurs, écrivains et artistes caribéens. Nous vous voyons, vous entendons. Votre travail et vos propositions sont reçus. Ils le seront pour des temps à venir.

It is an honor to recognize your artistic work and Caribbean thought with the Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Lifetime. You are one of the monumental Caribbean thought and art producers. We thank you for honoring the Caribbean, the world of thought, the arts. We can but honor, thank and congratulate you for your achievements.

For more information on Frankétienne, please consult the following sites:

Haki Madhubuti

Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Lifetime Achievement Award

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is honoring Dr. Haki Madhubuti for his major contributions to the Black literary tradition, which includes his early association with the Black Arts Movement beginning in the mid-1960s, and his lasting and major influence in building resources and institutions dedicated to Black writers and scholars. He is the co-founder, publisher, and chairman of the board of Third World Press (established in 1967), which today is the largest independent black-owned press in the United States.

Dr. Madhubuti is also the founder and director emeritus of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, the co-founder of the Institute of Positive Education/New Concept Development Center (established in 1969), and co-founder of the Betty Shabazz International Charter School (established 1998) in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a founder and board member of the National Association of Black Book Publishers, a founder and chairman of the board of The International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, and founder and director of the National Black Writers Retreat.

Dr. Madhubuti’s accolades are many.  He is an award-winning poet and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, the American Book Award, an Illinois Arts Council Award, the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, and many others. In 1985, he was the only poet chosen to represent the United States at the International Valmiki World Poetry Festival in New Delhi, India. In 2006, he was awarded the Literary Legacy Award from the National Black Writers Conference for creating and supporting Black literature and for building Black literary institutions. He was named as a 2007 Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine and he was honored in May 2008 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Art Sanctuary of Philadelphia. He was inducted into the Hall of Resistance at the Ancient Africa, Enslavement and Civil War Museum in Selma, Alabama; he was honored as the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame 2014 Distinguished Laureate Presenter.  In 2014, Dr. Madhubuti received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award presented by Poets & Writers Magazine; and in April of that year, Dr. Madhubuti and his wife, Dr. Carol D. Lee, were presented with the DuSable Museum’s Dogon Award at the Night of 100 Stars Celebration. In June 2015, Madhubuti was the first poet to receive a Life Time Achievement Award at the Juneteenth Book Festival Symposium at the Library of Congress; in September 2015, Madhubuti was honored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in the Fine Arts; and in November of that same year, he received the Fuller Award from the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. His most recent recognition includes the 2017 Go On Girl Book Club Literary Legend Award and the 2017 Sutton E. Griggs Tulisoma Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature from Dallas, Texas. In June 2019 he received the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Activism in the Arts Award during the celebration of Juneteenth.

Congratulating Dr. Madhubuti, President Hanétha Vété-Congolo wrote:

Dear Haki Madhubuti,

You have acted in one of the most critical areas ensuring freedom. Your sense of justice, your solidarity with the world of letters and those not being able to enter it because of prejudices is outstanding. Thank you for being dependable and ensuring that there was a place where such people could find freedom of expression. Thank you for believing in the power of poetry, for practicing the letters that liberate. Congratulations for your achievements.

Dr. David Hall, President of the University of the Virgin Islands at St. Croix, at which this year’s international conference of the Caribbean Philosophical Association will be held, agrees.  He adds:

It is a tremendous honor for the University of the Virgin Islands to host the Caribbean Philosophical Association meeting on our St. Croix campus. I am also thrilled that at this gathering, one of the world’s most renown and culturally meaningful poet and author, Haki Madhubuti, will receive the Guillen Lifetime Achievement Award.  Haki has devoted his life to raising the consciousness of people of African descent, and the world, through his probing, insightful and provocative poems and writings. When the cultural deserts were parched, Haki, and the Third World Press, which he founded and still leads, was our oasis and precious resource. I have known, worked with, and admired him for over forty years, and it is a blessing to have this important honor bestowed upon him at the University where I am President. The Caribbean Philosophical Association and Haki are cultural and intellectual trailblazer and thus it is appropriate that these powerful intellectual forces converge at this critical juncture in our collective journey

For more information on Dr. Haki Madhubuti, please consult:

Dionne Brand

Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Achievements

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is honoring Professor Dionne Brand for her extraordinary work as a poet, novelist, and essayist. Her writing is notable for the beauty of its language, and for its intense engagement with issues of international social justice. Her work includes nine volumes of poetry, five books of fiction and two non-fiction works. She was the Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto 2009–2012.

Professor Brand is the University Research Chair in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph in Canada.  She became prominent first as an award-winning poet, winning the Griffin Poetry Prize for her volume Ossuaries, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Trillium Book Prize for her volume Land to Light On. She’s garnered nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award for the poetry volumes No Language Is Neutral and Inventory respectively, the latter also nominated for the Trillium and the Pat Lowther. She has won the Pat Lowther Award for poetry for her volume thirsty, which was also nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the city of Toronto Book Award.  Her 2018 volume, The Blue Clerk, was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry and the Griffin Poetry Prize and won the Trillium Book Prize.

Professor Brand has also achieved great distinction and acclaim in fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent novel, Theory, won the Toronto Book Award 2019 and the BOCAS fiction prize. Her novel, Love Enough, was nominated in 2015 for the Trillium Book Award. Her fiction includes the novel In Another Place, Not Here, which was a New York Times notable book in 1998, and At the Full and Change of the Moon, a Los Angeles Times Notable Book of the Year in 1999. Her critically acclaimed novel, What We All Long For, which won the Toronto Book Award, offers an indelible portrait of the city of Toronto; it has been translated into Italian, French and German. Her non-fiction includes Bread Out of Stone, and A Map to the Door of No Return, which has been widely taken up by scholars of Black Diaspora.

Professor Brand holds several Honorary Doctorates—from Wilfred Laurier University, the University of Windsor, Simon Fraser University, The University of Toronto, York University, and Thornloe/Laurentian University.  She is a member of the Order of Canada.

President Hanétha Vété-Congolo stated the following upon learning of the Awards Committee’s selection:

Dionne Brand’s commitment to creative writing and to the use of it as an appropriate vessel to disseminate thought is outstandingly striking. Her selection is a testament to her many extraordinary achievements and honors the namesake of this award.

For more information on Professor Brand, please consult:

María Lugones

The Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement Award

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is honoring Professor María Lugones for her groundbreaking contributions to decolonial philosophy/theory, feminist philosophy/theory, Indigenous philosophy/theory, critical gender, race, and sexuality studies, Latin American philosophy, and world systems theory attested to in the many articles, symposia, dissertation chapters, and journal issues on her work and leadership in what has become known as global southern theory.

According to one member of the committee, “Professor María Lugones is a living giant in her areas of expertise.”   Her work problematizes the forms of practices and concepts through which oppression is cultivated

Dr. Hanétha Vété-Congolo, President of the Caribbean Philosophy Association, adds:

In the domain of women studies theory deepens and enlarges our understanding of the way women who endure or have endured colonization, imperialism or other such calamities empower themselves to freedom. Professor Lugones’s work is invaluable, and we thank her for offering it to the world.

Professor Catherine Walsh, last year’s winner of the Fanon Lifetime Achievement Award (, adds:

María Lugones, decolonial feminist-philosopher-popular educator combined, changed forever how we understand the relation gender-race through her pioneering work on the “coloniality of gender.”

For more information on Professor Lugones’s thought, readers may wish to consult Global Social Theory (

Raymond (“Ray”) Rocco

Stuart Hall Outstanding Mentorship Award

The Caribbean Philosophical Association has selected Professor Raymond (“Ray”) Rocco as this year’s recipient of the Stuart Hall Outstanding Mentorship Award.  It is an honor bestowed on an eminent scholar whose mentorship has cultivated an outstanding community of artists, scholars, teachers, or political activists in and beyond the academy.

Dr. Rocco is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at UCLA, where he was a co-founder, with the late Professor Mark Sawyer, of the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Program.

Dr. Natasha Behl, a former student of Professor Rocco, now Assistant Professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University, wrote:

As a co-founder of UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program for first-generation, underrepresented freshmen and transfer students, Professor Rocco provided mentorship to countless undergraduate students of color.  As a co-founder of UCLA’s Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (REP) Program, Professor Rocco supported a generation of REP scholars who bridge empirical and critical normative theory in pursuit of a more pluralistic vision of democratic political community. We are forever grateful for his research, teaching, and mentorship….

Professor Rocco is an exceptional academic, educator, and colleague.  His dedication and commitment to his students, both graduate and undergraduate is outstanding and unmatched.  He is an exceptional teacher who makes political theory accessible and relevant to all students.  He is committed to seeing his students through their academic career at UCLA and beyond….

Professor Rocco helped to establish and maintain UCLA’s Freshman Summer Program and Transfer Summer Program, which are committed to the academic success of first generation and underrepresented students.  Professor Rocco’s commitment to first generation and underrepresented students at UCLA is remarkable.  He has influenced generations of students as they navigated their academic and professional careers.

Our President, Dr. Hanétha Vété-Congolo, adds:

The political science and beyond have expanded their realm thanks to Professor Rocco’s mentorship and scholarship.  This award is our appreciation of this important contribution.

Readers interested in learning more about Professor Rocco should consult this link:

Lamonte Aidoo, Lamonte Aidoo, Slavery Unseen: Sex, Power, and Violence in Brazilian History.  Duke University Press, 2018

Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award

Dr. Lamonte Aidoo is an Associate Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University (   His extraordinary book examines sexual violence as a technology of enslavement in Brazil and its impact on Brazilian society—especially its notion of “racial democracy”—after the formal abolition of slavery.   According to the referees:

Lamonte Aidoo’s book presents new evidence (thanks to his archival work) and new points of view (referring to sex, power and violence) on the history of slavery in Brazil. Although it is possible to think, establishing extrapolations towards the entire slave system of the time, a standard relationship between masters and slaves, the author claims that his study is limited only to the case of Brazil, although its implications are far-reaching. As there are different contexts of slavery (according to the geography of the colonized country, the economic system that supports exploitation, the cruelty of the slave country), one could imagine other researchers building on this excellent historical study.   Its details work across race-sex-sexuality and medicine to contemporary evasions of race through policies of dilution in Brazil.  As a work that brings literature, history, cultural theory, and philosophy together, it is worthy of the Guillén award.


Slavery Unseen brings race, sex, sexuality, and power together in a sustained study of Brazilian history and relevant literature.   The overall argument of the book is that sex was and continues to be a technology of the production of Brazil as a white nation-state despite its diverse demography.   To fine-tune his analysis, Aidoo focuses on “non-generative sex,” which places sex outside of the framework of procreation and thus widens the scope of sexual “subjects.”  This enables him to examine how same-sex sexual encounters configure in the production of Brazilian national identity.  It also enables him to de-couple gender, sex, and sexuality and show how race could map onto and also unsettle expectations of neat binaries.   For instance, although a master and the enslaved may be of the same “sex,” their gender roles were often affected by the structures of enslavement and race in a way that could affirm patriarchal conceptions of heteronormativity.   Made plain, a white male master raping a male slave could stand as heteronormative instead of homosexual through presumptions of masculine assertion over the feminine.  He makes a similar observation about white female mistresses and their female slaves. Aidoo goes further and acknowledges black antiblack forms of racism and purchasing into the logic of enslavement in which the relational semiology of the system would make a former slave or freed person owning black slaves an achievement of being “above” (albeit limitedly so) those below on a march away from blackness toward whiteness.   This sexual technology receives its animus from notions of national “honor,” in which Brazil, as the last country in the Americas to outlaw slavery, sought redemption through practices of historical erasure and avowals of so-called “racial democracy.”   The former involved eliminating much archival evidence of its period of legalized slavery.  The latter focused on the large mixed population of African descent. Aidoo offers a detailed critique of both through drawing upon transdisciplinary methods to reveal what was proverbially hidden and, relatedly, to trace the palimpsest of Brazil’s past and the logic beneath its claimed present.   The conclusion throughout the text is that the semiological decoys and political claims of diversity actually offer a straightforward logic of heteronormative and white supremacist subjectivity at which the center is white “male” hegemony.    Slavery Unseen is a remarkable work of scholarship.

President Hanétha Vété-Congolo offers her congratulations to Professor Aidoo, for his “achievements and commitment to unveiling unseen yet critical aspects of history that ought to be known.”

The following links offer more discussions of Slavery Unseen:

Julius Scott, The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution.  Verso, 2018

Frantz Fanon Outstanding Book

This book is the long-awaited publication of the author’s classic dissertation, which, as many commentators attest (see, e.g.: ,, and, has influenced more than three decades of scholarship in the study of enslavement, the Afro-Caribbean, and African diasporic studies.

Here are excerpts from the referee reports:

I am so delighted to see this book is finally published.   Back in 2008 I got to witnessthebook’s thesis firsthand in an unusual way.  There were celebrations aroundtheformal outlawing ofthe“slave trade”/kidnappings acrosstheAtlantic.  What struck me werethemany local stories of revolts from all across the Caribbean.   Many people intheislands knew their great-great-grandparents and their accounts from their grandparents, most of which did not matchtheformal scholarly accounts despite ample archival evidence in support ofthelocals’ versions.  Nearly every one ofthelocal accounts matchesthethesis of Scott’s book.  This was a classic dissertation with extraordinary influence before its now formal publication with Verso.  It deserves the Fanon Outstanding book award.


Already a classic as an unpublished dissertation for 32 years, TheCommonWindis one of those rare works that conveys not only a new interpretation of a crucial event,theHaitian Revolution, but an entirely new vision of its larger historical period,theage of revolution, one ofthemost profound moments in world history.   Its innovations in historiography and the political narrative of slavery are many.  For instance, the ways in which enslaved people communicate with each other across borders come to the fore in a portrait of agency under oppressive circumstances.   The humanity of the enslaved is always present in this extraordinary portrait of history from below.

Our President, Dr. Hanétha Vété-Congolo, agrees:

The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Era of the Haitian Revolutionis another eloquent contribution to understanding the history of enslavement and post-enslavement time.

Dr. Scott taught at the University of Michigan until his recent retirement.

To learn more about the Caribbean Philosophical Association,

please consult its website:

The selections are made annually by the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Awards Committee, which consists of all prior recipients of the Frantz Fanon, the Nicolás Guillén, and the Stuart Hall Awards and an appointed senior scholar and an appointed junior scholar.   For more information, please consult: and

The award ceremony will take place at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix, April 1–4, 2020: