The History of Philosophy / Continental Philosophy
B.A. anticipated June 2014, Summa cum Laude
Home College: Brooklyn
Mentor: Prof. Dena Shottenkirk, Philosophy, Brooklyn
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
CUNY Pipeline Program Fellow
The Howard W. Hintz Philosophy Essay Prize
Julia Schwabe Language Award
Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honor Society
“Philosophy has been a mode of thought that has captivated me since I was young. My favorite question, much to the chagrin of my parents, has always been why, why, why? Philosophy has been my escape but also a tool that animates my normal every day existence, adding color, flavor and beauty to what might become calcified, worn and routine.”
In pursuit of his dual area in Philosophy, William Cheung has taken almost every philosophy course offered at Brooklyn College, in addition to several honors seminars and two related political science courses. He presented a paper on the prospect of radical democracy in relation to events such as the Arab Spring for the philosophy society at Brooklyn, in conjunction with the PEACE project, a project developed at the college by 2012 CUNY BA graduate Ben Wasserman. PEACE stands for Philosophy, Ethics and Community Education, and Cheung presented his paper to an audience of inner-city high schoolers, undergraduates and professors, engaging them in a conversation about individual responsibilities toward collective social movements and the need to reclaim public spaces.
He plans to pursue a Ph.D., and says “I hope to produce scholarship that can speak truth to power and reveal cracks in power structures that carry out violence in our society. A number of social justice issues such as the prison system targeting Black populations, as well as discussions on the war on terror are of particular interest to me as they appear to be a continuation of technologies and sentiments developed in the eras of slavery and colonization. These concerns are magnified for me as an Asian American living in a Black community my entire life.”
His mentor has said he is one of the best students she has ever had, that he is “disciplined, insightful, hard-working and thorough…a critical thinker who is not satisfied with merely understanding philosophy but in forming his own positions. I have only given him A’s but that does not reflect what he’d due. He is a serious scholar for whom graduate school is a necessity.”
Cheung is a national-level, collegiate policy debater who holds many national titles and speaker awards, and also coaches high school debate across the city; this year he coached a team of Urban Debate League debaters to the Tournament of Champions. He has just been named a Fulbright English Teaching Fellow and will travel to Germany for this assignment in the fall.