APA Member Interview: Damion Kareem Scott

Damion Scott photoDamion Kareem Scott is an adjunct lecturer who teaches Africana Studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Philosophy at the City College of New York. He is a graduate student at Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies and intends to return to Stony Brook University’s Department of Philosophy in Fall 2016.

What are you most proud of in your professional life?

I am proud that finally some of my workfor example, in the comparative geography and history of philosophy, the nature of sonic kinds in the ontology of electronic music, and in Black Futurist Aesthetics more generallyis starting to catch on a bit. I am proud that my students react positively to my teaching and evaluate me fairly despite the pitfalls of persistent abilist and racialist stereotypes. I am grateful for all of the amazing instructors that I have had over the years. I am also happy that American academic philosophy has become more pluralistic, and on average has created a more collegial and welcoming environment for philosophers such as myself, compared with the discipline’s atmosphere in the 1990s.

What are you most proud of in your non-professional life?

I take pride in many things. I have been through a fair amount of trauma and injustice in life. I have had to deal with poverty, ill-health, bigotry, and relative disability. I am grateful that I have developed a certain resilience of mind and sensitivity to suffering that allows for a heightened appreciation for hope, optimism, and contentment. I am proud that I am able to use what I know in the ways that we do, and am humbled by the opportunity to do so alongside other talented scholars.

What do you like to do outside work?

I am passionate about music. I used to live to dance. However, due to certain changes in my body, I don’t go out nearly as much as I did when I was younger. I enjoy traveling. I like waking up in places where I don’t know the language or the local culture. I really appreciate film, novels, and the plastic and digital arts. I can play table tennis for hours and will be unhappy if I go more than a few weeks without it.

What are your goals and aspirations outside work?

I hope to see more of the world, write and create something substantial, try fatherhood, and then exit. I would like to die in my sleep after a day loving life, preferably with someone or some people whom I love and who love me.

What excites you about philosophy?

Philosophy is fascinating for those with the modesty, intelligence, and patience for it. I find it difficult but extremely fulfilling, and have had the very good fortune to learn from, or be supervised by, some truly amazing philosophers.  Moreover, it is one of the few disciplines that gets more complex the further you advance. I have led a life full of quirkiness and weirdness. Philosophy is quirky and weird. Match!

What time of day are you most productive and creative?

I have insomnia. My inability to sleep is also complicated by arthritic flare-ups in several joints in my body. The pain is sometimes a cause and sometimes, it seems, an effect of sleep deprivation. So I have made the nocturnal world as practical as possible. I am an adjunct with an unpredictable schedule as well as a full-time graduate student, so this ‘night owl’ lifestyle can be a challengea welcome challenge.

Which super power would you like to have?

Omnipotence. Without doubt, omnipotence.

What technology do you wish the human race could discover right now?

I think that technologies that reduce ignorance, alleviate bodily pain, and prolong life spans are all things that we should continue discovering and refining. I am especially enthusiastic about nanotechnology, reasonable neural enhancement, and possibilities for types of propulsion technology.

What’s your top tip or advice for APA members reading this?

Adjunct lives matter.

Find out more about Damion Kareem Scott on academia.edu.

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This section of the APA Blog is designed to get to know our fellow philosophers a little better.  We’re including profiles of APA members that spotlight what captures their interest not only inside the office but also outside of it.  We’d love for you to be a part of it, so please contact us via the nomination form here.

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