Charles W. Mills

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Charles Wade Mills is a Caribbean philosopher from Jamaica. He is known for his work in social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. Mills is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, in New York City.

Education and career[edit]

Mills earned his B.Sc. at the University of the West Indies (Honors, Physics), and his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1985. His dissertation was titled "The Concept of Ideology in the Thought of Marx and Engels". Mills taught physics in Kingston, Jamaica, from 1971 to 1973 at the College of Arts, Science and Technology, and from 1976 to 1977 at Campion College; he previously taught philosophy at the University of Oklahoma (1987–90) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (1990–2007) where he was a UIC Distinguished Professor.[1]

Mills was also John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University, before moving in August 2016 to a senior post at the Graduate Center, CUNY.[2][3]

Mills was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.[4]

Research areas and publications[edit]

Mills's main research interests are in political theory (radical and oppositional), particularly around issues of social class, gender, and race. He has published numerous articles on Marxism, critical race theory, and African-American philosophy. His book The Racial Contract (Cornell University Press, 1997)[5] won a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award[6] for the study of bigotry and human rights in North America. The award states, "Charles Mills's treatment of the biases in western philosophy in The Racial Contract is a tour de force."[7]



  • The Racial Contract (Cornell University Press, 1997).
  • Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (Cornell University Press, 1998).
  • From Class to Race: Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).
  • Philosophy: the Big Questions, co-edited with Ruth Sample and James P. Sterba (Blackwell, 2003).
  • Contract and Domination, co-authored with Carole Pateman (Polity Press, 2007).
  • Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination (University of West Indies Press, 2010).
  • Black Rights / White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Selected articles[edit]

  • Mills, Charles W. (2004), ""Ideal theory" as ideology", in DesAutels, Peggy; Walker, Margaret Urban (eds.), Moral psychology: feminist ethics and social theory, Feminist Constructions, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 163–182, ISBN 9780742534803.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • "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 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.
  • "The Racial Contract revisited: still unbroken after all these years," Politics, Groups, and Identities, 3:3, 541-557 (2015)
  • "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.


  1. ^ For details see Charles Mills's curriculum vita Archived 14 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 13 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Mills from Northwestern to CUNY Graduate Center", Leiter Reports, 16 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Professor Charles Mills to join Graduate Center Philosophy Program", The Graduate Center, CUNY, 28 November 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ See The Racial Contract for a synopsis and further information on the reception of the book.
  6. ^ The 1998 award is listed in Peacework Archived 1 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights closed in 2009 Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Williams, Loretta J. (July–August 1999). "Confronting Both Our Histories and Our Future: 1998 Winners of the Myers Outstanding Books Awards". Peacework.

External links[edit]