Nahum Dimitri Chandler

School of Humanities

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Phone: (949) 824-1610

University of California, Irvine
3333 Humanities Gateway
Mail Code: 6850
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Modern Philosophy, Intellectual History, History of the Human Sciences
Research Abstract
Nahum Dimitri Chandler serves on the faculty of the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine.

For two years, from August 2018 to July 2020, he will serve as faculty director of the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) programs in Japan, while also serving as a Visiting Professor of the Department of Humanities, College of Liberal Arts, at the International Christian University, Mitaka (Tokyo), Japan, the host institution of the UCEAP Tokyo Study Center.

At UC Irvine, he holds the rank of full professor appointed as a core faculty member in the Department of English and in the Department of African American Studies, and as a jointly appointed participating faculty member in the Department of Comparative Literature, in the Department of European Languages and Studies, and as of July 1, 2018, also in the Department of Asian American Studies.

Known in the formal academic context, as an historian of the human sciences and as a theorist within contemporary critical thought, especially as a scholar of the work of W. E. B. Du Bois and as a critical interpreter of the work of Jacques Derrida, along with a singular engagement with the work of composer, poet, and pianist Cecil Taylor (the 2013 Kyoto Prize laureate in Arts and Philosophy) – the latter of whom he hosted for six months as an artist in residence while director of the Program in Comparative American Studies at Johns Hopkins University – Professor Chandler has lectured in the majority of the states in the United States, in Canada, several parts of Europe (for example, Germany, England, the Netherlands, Scotland, Italy, Hungary, and the Czech Republic) and in Asia (Japan and China), and as well he has undertaken scholarly visits to Africa (Zimbabwe and Nigeria) – over the past twenty-five years.

Among other awards, during the 1998-1999 academic year he was a resident member with fellowship in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he also held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA) and the Ford Foundation (USA); later he was granted a Fulbright fellowship for research and a lectureship to Japan, which he held during the 2005-2006 academic year at Tohoku University, a leading national university, in Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture. For the summer of 2016 he was appointed the University of California Visiting Professor and Guest Professor at Osaka University, in Osaka, Japan, working within the partnership of Osaka University and the University of California, in support of the Osaka Office of the University of California Education Abroad Program.


Along with regular faculty appointments in English at Duke University and in the Humanities Center, an interdisciplinary department, at Johns Hopkins University, he held a regular faculty appointment with tenure as the lead founding full Professor for a new School of Global Studies, associated with Tama University, in Tokyo, Japan (2007-2011). As well and in tandem with his regular appointment in Japan, he served as a visiting full Professor at Columbia University in the Institute for Research in African American Studies and in the Department of Anthropology (2006) and as a visiting full Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Anthropology (2008), respectively. Likewise, having previously served as an invited Chancellor’s Visiting Assistant Professor, in law and society, at the University of California, Irvine (1997) and as an invited visiting Assistant Professor, in comparative literature, at University of California, Davis (2002), he was an ongoing Visiting Scholar from 2008-2012 in the history of science within the Office for History of Science and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley.

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) and the resultant tsunami and ensuing historic nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011, which affected much more of Japan than is commonly understood, he returned (with his family, including a then young son) from Japan to the United States, to accept a full time appointment at the University of California, joining the faculty in African American Studies at UC Irvine as a senior core faculty member.


6a. He is the author of Toward an African Future – Of the Limit of World (The Living Commons Collective, London, 2013, new edition SUNY Press, 2019), X: The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought (Fordham University Press, New York, 2014), and his project under the heading of The Problem of Pure Being, as two volumes -- first, “Beyond the Narrow Now:” Delimitations of the Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois, and secondly as Annotations: On the Early Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois and the Discourses of the Negro -- is with Duke University Press, Durham, NC. Another study, The Possible Form of an Interlocution: W. E. B. Du Bois and Max Weber in Correspondence 1904-1905, is also under contract for publication by Duke University Press.

6b. He also recently compiled, edited, annotated, and introduced a collection of early writings by W. E. B. Du Bois, some published for the first time, The Problem of the Color Line at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Essential Early Essays (Fordham University Press, New York, 2015).

6c. As a member of the editorial board of CR: The New Centennial Review, he has edited three special issues: 15.2 in 2015 “W. E. B. Du Bois and the Question of Another World, II (Or, Another Poetics and Another Writing – Of History and the Future)”; 12.1 in 2012, “Toward a New Parallax: Or, Japan in Another Traversal of the Transpacific”; and 6.3 in 2006, “W. E. B. Du Bois and the Question of Another World.” The first two special issues included previously unpublished writings (one in translation) by Du Bois on two different regions of the world, respectively, regarding Europe on the one hand, Germany in particular, and concerning Asia on the other, especially Japan and China (and in the 12.1 issue, photos from travels). Each of the special issues also presented work by contemporary scholars, each issue drawing as their central reference from the proceedings of two international conferences that he organized in Japan – Sendai (2006) and Tokyo (2007), on the work of W. E. B. Du Bois.


7a. At the UCI campus he is also a principal investigator for several initiatives: namely beginning with the 2013-2015 academic years, the interdisciplinary cluster in Science, Technology and Race, sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the School of Humanities; and, beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, as principal faculty investigator for the doctoral student organized Workshop on Anthropology and Critical Historiography, sponsored by the Office of the Dean, School of Social Sciences, both at UC Irvine.

7b. As well, at the UC system-wide level, beginning in 2015 he serves as a co-principal investigator for a multi-year (2015-2018) Multi-campus Research Program and Initiative funded (at just over $1 million) by the Office of the President of the University of California—the UC Consortium for Black Studies in California—focused on humanistic and arts based studies, such as philosophy, literature, film, music, and historical and cultural studies research, notably with regard to gender and the study of women, in Black Studies. Serving as a Co-PI and faculty lead for the first host campus, UC Irvine, for this five-campus based project, he established series of workshops for faculty and doctoral students in four areas of concentration: Black feminism and critical theory (FACT); critical historiography and social theoretical enquiry (CHASTE); science, technology, and race (STAR); and Blackness and the Asian Century (BASIC). A fifth workshop, The Fifth Floor: A Workshop and Discussion Series in Contemporary Critical Black Thought (FifthFloor), began in April 2016 (with Hortense Spillers as the inaugural guest). A “rising scholars” book seminar series on the work of new and newly tenured faculty was also founded, along with a “young scholars” lecture series” – in which the emphasis is on the scholarship of contemporary work.

7c. Too, for the 2017-2018 academic year, he served as the PI for “Blackness and the Asian Century: A Multi-Campus Faculty Working Group,” supported by the University of California Humanities Research Institute grant program, The Pacific Ocean: Multi-Campus Faculty Working Groups, supported in part by the University of California Office of the President, MRPI funding MR-15-328710.

Along with his professional memberships in the Modern Languages Association, the American Anthropological Association (including therein the American Ethnological Society and the Society for Cultural Anthropology), the American Studies Association, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, and the History of Science Society, he is a member of the Commonwealth Club of California (San Francisco), the International House of Japan (Tokyo), and the Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton).
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