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Graduate Activity

Many of our graduate students engage in teaching, research, and service in areas supportive of institutional diversity and inclusiveness. Below are some examples.

Daniel Palumbo is helping to organize a workshop on disability studies in the Spring 2017, with speakers to include Sunaura Taylor, Michael Bérubé, and Janet Lyon. He will  give a paper in July 2017 at the Utrecht, Netherlands, ACLA conference called "The Spectrums of Disability." His dissertation addresses pain, testimony, and subjectivity, with particular attention to the contemporary philosophical discourse on pain and disability, and to survivor narrative and testimony in particular.

William M. Paris situates, in his dissertation, the meaning of "Black life" after the Middle Passage at the intersection of psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and ethics. Using the thought of Hortense Spillers and Frantz Fanon I am investigating how the affects of grief and melancholia can provide philosophy with new ways of conceptualizing the pain and trauma of forced migration and enslavement. My research will claim that we have not adequately theorized or investigated the specificity of this pain or the ways "Black life" and those who have become black have found creative ways of being in response to this pain. A different sort of thinking is called for by Spillers and Fanon; this will hopefully allow for different analyses and critiques of our present ways of living and thinking.

Tiffany N. Tsantsoulas is writing a paper in which she develops critical intersections between vulnerability ethics and decolonial feminism: “Narrating Different Genres of the Vulnerable Human: A Decolonial Critique of Judith Butler’s Ethics of Vulnerability,” and another where she explores how Indigenous feminisms change the discourse around mass incarceration: “Displaced and Expropriated Bodies: a Decolonial Feminist Approach to the Mass Imprisonment of Indigenous Women in Canada.” She embraces the Socratic idea that good pedagogy is transformative. Philosophy ought to challenge students to think critically, to question who they are, and to grow intellectually and morally. These goals require diverse syllabi that put differently situated voices into conversation and emphasize the intersections of theory and praxis. All of her courses at Penn State reflect these commitments. She works with the Restorative Justice Initiative (RJI), a dedicated interdisciplinary group of Penn State grad students, faculty, and community partners. She is the treasurer and co-teach a Creative Writing course to female inmates at the local jail. They seek to provide the women with a space to develop self-knowledge and confidence through literary expression. She is developing a capstone project for the women to polish a piece of their writing over several weeks, alone and collaboratively, aiming to publish it on the RJI website. She also hopes to create philosophy-specific curriculum for incarcerated persons.