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Alex R. Steers-McCrum

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About Me

I'm a PhD candidate in philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. I'm a White guy from Oregon and an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and my dissertation was born when I discovered there were no ready explanations in philosophy for an identity like that. I set out to find one, and in my work, I aim to bridge some of the gaps between Native American philosophy, critical race philosophy, and social ontology. 

I was a teacher long before I was a philosopher and I still love the classroom (even the virtual one). I have  taught at Baruch College, CUNY since 2017. The greatest joy in teaching is when students discover the aspect of philosophy that is for them, that they will take into their lives and professions, whatever those may be.

I live in Maryland, just across the border from Washington, DC. When I'm not working, I like to bake with my wife, build Legos with my kids, and watch baseball or play board games with anyone.

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AOS: Critical Race Theory, Political Philosophy, Native American Philosophy

AOC: Ancient Chinese Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Emotion, Feminist Philosophy, Social Ontology

My Dissertation: What Does "Native" Mean? Disentangling and Decolonizing Settler Terms and Categories

This work is born out of the discord between my own identity as a both an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a White person. Native American means so many things to so many different people--race, ethnicity, culture tribal identity, nationality, Indigeneity--and this is a good thing because the lived reality is complicated. But confusing, eliding, and erasing these meanings can erase Native people and reinforce settler colonial domination.
Disentangling and decolonizing these concepts while maintaining their interrelatedness is a crucial aspect of resisting settler colonial projects that erase Native people through overly broad or overly rigid definitions of Nativeness.

My Research Interests

Inside and outside of my dissertation research, I've worked in the critical philosophy of race, Native American philosophy, social epistemology, political philosophy, social ontology, ethics, environmental philosophy, philosophy of emotion, and Ancient Chinese philosophy.

Questions of sovereignty, justice, and the nature of human connections to one another and to our world continue to impel my research.

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Don’t Put Words in My Mouth: Self-Appointed Speaking-for Is Testimonial Injustice Without Prejudice

2019. “Don’t Put Words in My Mouth: Self-Appointed Speaking-for Is Testimonial Injustice Without Prejudice.” Social Epistemology. First published online.

Out of the Binary and Beyond the Spectrum: Redefining and Reclaiming Native American Race

2018. “Out of the Binary and Beyond the Spectrum: Redefining and Reclaiming Native American Race.” Critical Philosophy of Race Vol. 6, No. 2. 216-238.

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Bernard M. Baruch College, CUNY

I love teaching. My philosophy of teaching philosophy is that my students aren't learning a topic, they're learning a praxis, a craft, maybe even a way of life. Through engaged readings, classroom discussion, and writing and revising philosophy is something we do together in my courses. 

Major Issues in Philosophy

An introduction to the topics and practices of philosophy. Students gain a broad view what philosophy is and how to philosophize by encountering some of the discipline's "greatest hits," as well as topics and voices long marginalized, by reading historical pieces and the cutting edge of new research, and by learning to make their own contribution to conversations they care about.

Logic and Moral Reasoning

Students learn the basics of formal logic and practice using this tool to improve the reasoning and arguing skills that will help them succeed in philosophy, law, computer science, and arguing on social media. (Okay, there's nothing I can do for that last one....)

Global Ethics

Students explore a variety of topics, issues, and perspectives in ethics, society, and politics. They encounter both theory and applied philosophy from inside and out of the Western canon, and form their own research-based arguments on the topics that matter to their lives.

Philosophy of Race

Coming Fall 2021. In this capstone seminar, we will explore issues of race, racism, and racialization in the US and globally. Students will grapple with historical and contemporary issues in the philosophy of race and address some of our society's longest lasting and most urgent questions.

Baruch Logic: Digital Humanities Curriculum Development

Baruch Logic is designed to meet the needs of our student population. With my colleagues in the Philosophy Department and funding from the Teaching and Learning Center, we are continuing to develop open access Digital Humanities materials--including the zero-cost textbook, virtual lectures, and online homework--for our hybrid and online logic course.

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Fellowships & Awards

Robert M. Adams–Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellow in Philosophy. Institute for Citizens & Scholars


Marilyn J. Gittell Dissertation Fellowship. Gittell Urban Studies Collective, CUNY


CUNY Writing Across the Curriculum Fellowship


CUNY GC Center for Global Ethics and Politics Fellow


APA Graduate Student Stipend: "Here, We Are: A Native American Relational Social Ontology"


Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy Graduate Student Travel Award: "Ongoing Erasure: Antinative Racism and Its Philosophical Origins"


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PhD: CUNY Graduate Center

2022 (Expected)


MA: CUNY Graduate Center



BA: Seattle Pacific University


Creative Writing, magna cum laude, honors

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