Charles Mills John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy

Charles W. Mills is John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy. He works in the general area of social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. In recent years he has been focusing on race. He did his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, and five books. His first book, The Racial Contract (Cornell University, 1997), won a Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in North America. It has been adopted widely in courses across the United States (more than 100 campuses so far), not just in philosophy, but also political science, sociology, anthropology, African-American, and race relations. His second book, Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (Cornell University, 1998), was a finalist for the award for the most important North American work in social philosophy of that year. His fourth book, Contract and Domination (Polity Press, 2007), is co-authored with Carole Pateman, who wrote The Sexual Contract (Stanford University Press, 1988), and it seeks to bring the two “contracts” together. His most recent book is a collection of his Caribbean essays, Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination (University of the West Indies Press, 2010) and he has a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press, Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (2016). Before joining Northwestern, Charles Mills taught at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was a UIC Distinguished Professor.


Edited Works

Selection of Recent Articles

  • “White Ignorance,” in Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, eds., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2007), Philosophy and Race Series, pp. 13-38.
  • “Multiculturalism as/and/or Anti-Racism?” in Anthony Simon Laden and David Owen, eds., Multiculturalism and Political Theory (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 89-114.
  • “The Domination Contract,” in Daniel I. O’Neill, Mary Lyndon Shanley, and Iris Marion Young, eds., Illusion of Consent: Engaging with Carole Pateman, a festschrift for Carole Pateman (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008), pp. 49-74.
  • “Racial Liberalism,” an invited lead article (one of two) for a special issue of the PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America) on “Comparative Racialization,” Vol. 123, No. 5 (October 2008), pp. 1380-97.
  • “Rawls on Race/Race in Rawls,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XLVII (2009) annual supplement of the proceedings of the University of Memphis Spindel Conference, “Race, Racism, and Liberalism in the Twenty-First Century,” ed. Bill E. Lawson, pp. 161-84.
  • "The Political Economy of Personhood," and "Reply to Comments on 'The Political Economy of Personhood,'" as part of the National Humanities Center's forum "On the Human," posted online April 4, 2011 and April 15, 2011 (6000 words total).
  • "Philosophy Raced, Philosophy Erased," in George Yancy, ed., Reframing the Practice of Philosophy: Bodies of Color, Bodies of Knowledge (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2012), Philosophy and Race Series, pp. 45-70.
  • "Rationality and Morality in Sterba," in James P. Sterba, ed., Morality: The Why and the What of It (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2012), pp. 65-80, 233 (endnotes).
  • "Occupy Liberalism! Or, Ten Reasons Why Liberalism Cannot Be Retrieved for Radicalism (And Why They're All Wrong)," and "Reply to Nancy Holmstrom and Richard Schmitt," as part of a forum, "Discussion: Liberalism and Radicalism," in Radical Philosophy Review, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2012), pp. 305-23 and 337-43.
  • "Retrieving Rawls for Racial Justice? A Critique of Tommie Shelby,"Critical Philosophy of Race, Vol.1, No. 1 (2013), pp. 1-27.  
  • "Race as/and (Ex)Change: Trading Places and the Rise of Neoliberalism," in Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo and Dan Flory, eds., Race, Philosophy, and Film (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 151-65.
  • “Materializing Race,” in Emily S. Lee, ed., Living Alterities: Phenomenology, Embodiment, and Race (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014), pp. 19-41.
  • “White Time: The Chronic Injustice of Ideal Theory,” Du Bois Review, Special Issue co-ed. with Robert Gooding-Williams, “Race in a ‘Postracial’ Epoch,” Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 2014), pp. 27-42.
  • “Kant and Race, Redux,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, Vol. 35, Nos. 1-2 (2014), pp. 125-57.
  • “Decolonizing Western Political Philosophy,” New Political Science, Vol. 37, No. 1 (March 2015), pp. 1-24.
  • “Race and Global Justice,” in Barbara Buckinx, Jonathan Trejo-Mathys, and Timothy Waligore, eds., Domination and Global Political Justice: Conceptual, Historical, and Institutional Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 181-205.
  • The Racial Contract Revisited: Still Unbroken after All These Years,” reply to four critics in a retrospective symposium on The Racial Contract, “Dialogue: The Racial Contract Today,” Politics, Groups, and Identities, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Sept. 2015), pp. 541-57.
  • “Racial Equality,” in George Hull, ed., The Equal Society: Essays on Equality in Theory and Practice (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), pp. 43-71
  • “Bestial Inferiority: Locating Simianization within Racism,” in Wulf D. Hund, Charles W. Mills, and Silvia Sebastiani, eds., Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class and Race, Racism Analysis Yearbook #6 (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2015), pp. 19-41.