Cover of Philosophy and Global Affairs

Philosophy and Global Affairs


Special Issue - Philosophy and Global Affairs

Reconsidering Political Race – Twenty Years of The Miner's Canary

April 2023 marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres’ The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy. In this seminal book, Guinier and Torres argue that growing economic, political, and social inequalities in the United States cannot be honestly assessed or effectively addressed without a thorough examination of racial inequalities. The miner’s canary, which functions as a distress signal, here is a metaphor for how the unhealthy air and material conditions that predominantly effect racialized minorities will eventually spread also to white and affluent communities. To save the canary by cleaning the unhealthy air and environment of representative democracy in the U.S., Guinier and Torres argue for a coalitional politics based on what they call political race. Political race is an attempt to build solidarity across races, beginning with the organized social movements initiated by racialized minorities, which attract people who come to share socio-economic and political goals, joining in a purposeful alliance to fight against hegemonic power structures. Guinier and Torres illustrate how political race can be mobilized to form multiracial coalitions to fight in many capacities, including for workers’ rights and educational equity.

Philosophy & Global Affairs invites scholars from across the human sciences to contribute to a special twentieth-anniversary symposium reflecting on the ongoing significance of The Miner’s Canary for realizing the authors’ stated goal of exploring “how racial identities may be put to service to achieve social change through democratic renewal” (Guinier and Torres 2003, 11). Given the concerted attack on Critical Race Theory (CRT) texts, scholars, and methodologies by right-wing demagogues, especially in the U.S., what better time than now to revisit this class text?

All contributors are invited to present their first drafts in a virtual gathering in Fall 2023.


  • Submission of Abstracts: JULY 31, 2023 (please email to [email protected])

  • Virtual Presentation Gathering: FALL 2023

  • Submission of Full Paper: DECEMBER 31, 2023

  • Projected Publication Date: SPRING/SUMMER 2024