Ryan Pollock, a sixth year graduate student in the department of philosophy, was recently awarded the Alumni Association Dissertation Award. The university wide award, which is accompanied by a generous endowment by the Alumni Association, recognizes “outstanding achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishment” by a doctoral student who is in his or her final year of study.
His dissertation, entitled “The Party of Humankind”: Sociality and Moral Revision in David Hume, defends Hume’s sentimentalist moral theory from the charge that it is incapable of critiquing status quo moral attitudes (even when those attitudes seemingly arise from unreflective prejudice or bias). Ryan argues that Hume believes we should revise our “catalogue of virtues” (or the set of character traits that we find praiseworthy) when that catalogue fails to represent what we find best about human nature. Specifically, the need for revision is present when our feelings of moral approval and disapproval are not the product of human sociability or the aspects of our nature which drive us to connect with others. He contends that this account has significant ramifications for how we should view Hume’s explanation of moral judgment, his theory of justice, and forces us to reconsider the conservative aspects of Hume’s thought.
Ryan was also recognized for his teaching in 2014 when he received the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. This recognition is given out annually to the best graduate assistant teachers across all departments at Penn State. Having successfully defended his dissertation, Ryan intends to graduate this coming May.
Kathryn Gines has been named the inaugural winner of the American Philosophical Association’s Joyce Mitchell Cook Award
Presented by the Committee on the Status of Black Philosophers (CSBP). Professor Gines works on Continental philosophy (especially existentialism and phenomenology), African American/Africana philosophy, black feminist philosophy, and critical philosophy of race. She is the founding director of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers, one of the founding co-editors of the journal Critical Philosophy of Race, the founder of the Center for Balanced Living, and she directs a program called Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy (CUSP).
The Joyce Mitchell Cook award was established in 2014 and is presented biennially by the committee on the status of black philosophers in honor of Joyce Mitchell Cook, the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. in philosophy in the United States, recognizing a book written by a trailblazing black woman philosopher. Prof. Gines receives the award in recognition of the success of her book, Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question.
The Department of Philosophy at Penn State is delighted to announce that Amy Allen will join its faculty as Head in July 2015.
Prof. Allen is currently finishing a book entitled The End of Progress: De-colonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory, which will be published later this year by Columbia University Press. Her next book will explore the relationship between critical theory and psychoanalysis, focusing on the fate of the death drive in contemporary critical theory. These two book projects are connected under the broad heading of an analysis of the relationship between power and reason in the critical theory tradition.
She is also working on several co-edited projects: a special issue of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy with selected papers from the 2014 SPEP conference (with Brian Schroeder of the Rochester Institute of Technology); a special issue of the journal Continental Philosophy Review on the historical a priori in Husserl and Foucault (with Smaranda Aldea of Dartmouth); an edited volume on the relationship between critical theory and psychoanalysis (with Brian O’Connor of University College Dublin); and a special section for the journal Constellations on the relationship between psychoanalysis and critical theory, drawing on work by theorists and intellectual historians (with Federico Finchelstein of the New School).
In addition to these scholarly projects, she will continue her work as the editor of the Columbia University Press series New Directions in Critical Theory and as Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory.
Prof. Allen was chair of the Department of Philosophy at Dartmouth College from 2006-2012 and is currently chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Dartmouth.
The Department of Philosophy at Penn State is happy to announce that Professor Eduardo Mendieta will join our faculty this summer.
Prof. Mendieta recently finished a monograph titled The Philosophical Animal: On Zoopoetics and Interspecies Cosmopolitanism, which is forthcoming with SUNY Press. He is already at work on what he considers to be a prequel titled, Philosophy’s War: Nomos, Polemos, Topos. Most immediately, however, he is editing his essays on the critical philosophy of race and will gather them under the title of Technologies of the Racist Self.
He is also editing a couple of anthologies on the history of Latin American philosophy and its most recent developments.
Once these books are complete, he plans to pursue two other projects. One has to do with Latin American cities, which takes up work on megaurbanization, megaslums, and the Anthropocene he has undertaken over the last couple of years. He has picked some six or seven Latin American cities to exemplify what he call the Latin American Urban Genius.
The second project, which is tentatively titled Philosophy’s Workshop, has to do with what he has called philosophy’s paralipomena. The aim is to study, profile, and unearth the many ways in which philosophy is produced, crafted, thought, written, communicated, and confessed: letters, dialogues, voice, diaries/autobiographies, lectures, and the philosopher’s body (female, male, racialized, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, disabled, ugly, etc). The aim is to develop a genealogy of the production of philosophy that is attentive to its material spaces of production. His guiding philosophical idea is that philosophy takes place in and through bodies that are always located in institutional spaces, which affect its imaginary.
Prof. Kathryn Gines has been awarded a fellowship from the Center for Humanities Information for her project "Collegium of Black Women Philosophers in a Digital Age". Prof. Gines is founding Director of the Collegium for Black Women Philosophers and plans to use the fellowship to enhance the digital resources available for the Collegium's activities. Prof. Gines notes that "as the founding director of the CBWP I am committed to recruiting and retaining Black women into philosophy, archiving our significant contributions to the field, and making this ever-expanding archive available to the widest possible audience." The project supported by the CHI Fellowshiphas three main components: 1) an enhanced interactive Collegium of Black Women Philosophers website; 2) collaboration with online encyclopedias of philosophy to feature scholarly entries on Black women philosophers; and 3) collaboration with online comprehensive bibliographies and electronic journal collections to feature the publications of Black women philosophers. The Fellowship will help Dr. Gines use reduced teaching obligations to pursue these laudable goals.