Derrick Darby

Professor of Philosophy, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts


Professor Darby is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan. He teaches and writes on race relations and inequality in social and political philosophy. He is the author of Rights, Race, and Recognition (Cambridge, 2009). He is the coeditor with Tommie Shelby of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court, 2005).

His collaborative research joins social scientific, historical, and legal research with philosophical analysis to produce insights into racial disparities in education and other areas. The Spencer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies have all supported his scholarship. His forthcoming coauthored book with John L. Rury, The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2018), sheds light on how American schools contribute to the racial achievement gap, negatively affecting the lives and dignity of black students. His recent coauthored law review article with Richard E. Levy, Postracial Remedies, provides direction to law and policymakers on how to address racial disparities and poverty in ways informed by considerations of justice, while taking seriously disagreement over their causes and consequences in a polarized America. He explains how education can create opportunity for ordinary people to escape poverty in his 2016 TEDx talk entitled “Doing the Knowledge.” Darby has presented his interdisciplinary research on promoting dignity and social mobility by reducing educational disparities before the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank and to numerous domestic and international audiences.

Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh; B.A. Colgate University