Martin Heidegger Saved My Life

9780816699360: Paperback
Release Date: 2nd September 2015

Dimensions: 127 x 178

Number of Pages: 84

Series Forerunners: Ideas First

University of Minnesota Press

Martin Heidegger Saved My Life

Paperback / £8.00

In Martin Heidegger Saved My Life, Grant Farred combines autobiography with philosophical rumination to offer this unusual meditation on American racism. In the fall of 2013 while raking leaves outside his home, Farred experienced a racist encounter: a white woman stopped to ask him, “Would you like another job?” Farred responded, “Only if you can match my Cornell faculty salary.” The moment, however, stuck with him. The black man had gravitated to, of all people, Martin Heidegger, specifically Heidegger’s pronouncement, “Only when man speaks, does he think—and not the other way around,” in order to unpack this encounter. 

In this essay, Farred grapples with why it is that Heidegger—well known as a Nazi—resonates so deeply with him during this encounter instead of other, more predictable figures such as Malcolm X, W. E. B. DuBois, or Frantz Fanon.

Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.


Grant Farred teaches at Cornell University. He is the author of several books, including What’s My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals (Minnesota, 2003) and In Motion, At Rest: The Event of the Athletic Body (Minnesota, 2014).