Neal speaks at International Society for African Philosophy and Studies Conference

Anthony Sean Neal

A faculty member with research interests in African philosophy has returned to Mississippi State with a broader prospective following a two-day conference in Austria.

Anthony Sean Neal, an assistant professor in Mississippi State’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, recently was invited to participate in the International Society for African Philosophy and Studies’ 23rd Annual Conference in Vienna.

During the two-day event, Neal interacted with notable scholars currently working in the areas of African philosophy, African studies and intercultural philosophy. He also presented research from his paper “An Intercultural Approach to Studying Mysticism as a Philosophy,” which advances a two-fold argument.

“In the paper, I argue that mysticism as a philosophy is of African origins but developed into substantial culturally diverse iterations, and the proper study of mysticism as a philosophy is necessarily an intercultural philosophically discursive act rooted in the African Classical and Neoclassical periods,” Neal explained.

“The significance of this study,” he continued, “stems from the integration of mysticism as a philosophy into much of what is considered to be African philosophy and the further integration of mysticism into various philosophical and theological systems around the world, i.e. Neoplatonism and process thought.”

Much of Neal’s work has focused on the American period—more specifically, the Modern Era of the African American Freedom Struggle that occurred from 1896-1975. His broader interests include interactions by proponents of the African American modern era with perceived African philosophies in the 14th to 17th centuries of the European Renaissance (Africa as Mystic Symbol) in their effort to create a philosophy of ideal humanity and freedom.

Neal joined the MSU faculty in 2016. He holds an Associate of Applied Science degree from the former State Technical Institute at Memphis, Bachelor of Arts in religion and philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and Master of Divinity in philosophical theology from Mercer University. He also earned a doctorate in humanistic inquiry with an emphasis in African American philosophy and religion from Clark Atlanta University.

Neal is author of the book “Common Ground: A Comparison of the Ideas of Consciousness in the Writings of Howard Thurman and Huey Newton” (Africa World Press Inc., 2015).

Part of the College of Arts and Sciences, MSU’s Department of Philosophy and Religion is online at

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Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs

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