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Inaugural Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar Céline Leboef to join Philosophy Department in Fall 2017

Céline Leboeuf will be the inaugural Mellon postdoctoral scholar for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Prof. Leboeuf received her PhD from Harvard in 2016 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Florida International University.

"At Pennsylvania State University, I will pursue a project concerning the ways in which members of privileged racial groups can transform bodily habits that marginalize members of minority racial groups," says Prof. Leboeuf.

We look forward to Céline joining us next year!

Humanities Without Walls- Graduate Fellowship Accepted

The department of Philosophy would like to congratulate Romy Opperman, Ph.D. student, for being accepted for the Fall 2017 Humanities Without Walls- Graduate Fellowship!  Her application is believed to contribute greatly to the Legacies of the Enlightenment project.

The Humanities Without Walls research project on the "Legacies of the Enlightenment" analyzes how the Enlightenment has come to inform our current concept of humanity and the interrelation of human and non-human. The period of the Enlightenment was a time when the boundaries separating organic and inorganic materials were beginning to crumble. This can be seen in the materialist-oriented work of philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, and Denis Diderot. Material philosophy, which focuses on the breaking down of matter into its most basic elements, continues to inform the ways we understand the coexistence of nature and humans in the anthropocene.


Graduate Student to be Honored at SPEP Annual Meeting

The department of Philosophy would like to congratulate Emma Velez, Ph.D. Candidate! 

The Executive Committee of Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy has accepted her paper, "Forked Tongues: A Decolonial Approach to Rethinking the Native Informant," for presentation at the 56th annual meeting at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel, and her paper has been chosen as Honorable Mention for "Best Submission by a Graduate Student".

First Appointed Mellon Dissertation Fellow

The Department of Philosophy would like to congratulate our first appointed Mellon Dissertation Fellow, Kimberly Ann Harris, a fifth year, Ph.D. Candidate!


Title: The Hegelian Dialectic in Africana Philosophy: Du Bois, Fanon, and James

Committee: Robert Bernasconi (Chair), Brady Bowman, Kathryn Gines, and Aldon Nielsen


The crucial role that Hegel’s conception of the dialectic has played in some of the most prominent Black thinkers has received little attention. In this dissertation, Kimberly Ann Harris fills this lacuna in Africana Philosophy by providing an examination of C. L. R. James’s Notes on Dialectics and The Black Jacobins, W. E. B. Du Bois’s “The Conservation of Races,” and Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Wretched of the Earth. She shows that in each of these cases Hegel’s dialectical approach to history (dialectical thinking) was essential to their own attempts to understand the possibility of a positive transformation of the pervasively racist world they inhabited.


To read more about the Mellon Foundation Grant, please click here.

Philosophy Undergrad Award Recipients

The 2017 Dotterer Award Recipients

The purpose of this scholarship is to recognize academically superior fifth or sixth semester undergraduate students enrolled in the College of the Liberal Arts majoring in Philosophy. The Ray H. Dotterer Memorial fund was established in memory of Ray H. Dotterer, a distinguished professor in the Department of Philosophy at Penn State. Dr. Dotterer served on the faculty from 1918 until his retirement in 1947.

Alec Bollard
Christopher Bremner
Simrandeep Chahal
William Cheesman
Georgette Covasa
Karen Heyn
Namwoong Kim
Hope Wilson

The 2017 Shibley Award Recipients

The purpose of this scholarship is to recognize academically superior undergraduate students enrolled in the College of the Liberal Arts majoring in Philosophy. This scholarship was established by Raymond N. Shibley, Class of 1947, in memory of his family and to honor his father, Jabir Shibley, Professor of Mathematics from 1921 until his retirment in 1948.

Brendan Bernicker
Elizabeth Catchmark


The 2017 Department of Philosophy Student Marshal

Stephen Messimer