Paul Cato is a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought.
His research examines Black Americans’ contributions to the practice and theorization of love – particularly those of African American author James Baldwin. He is especially interested in conceptions of love found in cultural works and those that speak to the world’s political realities. His dissertation outlines the discourse of “active love” – a decades-long conversation on political love comprised of Baldwin’s discussions with several 20th-century American intellectuals. In addition to studying Baldwin, Paul has spent much time studying the definition, conceptualization, and expression of “black love,” as well as the work of Audre Lorde, Emanuel Levinas, and Plato. His research integrates several methodologies, including close reading, archival work, and cultural criticism. His interests in interrelatedness also extend into more practical fields of human sociality such as race relations, disability studies, and social justice.