PhD, Philosophy, University of Toronto, 2002
BA Honours, Philosophy, Bishop’s University, 1994
BA, English, Bishop’s University, 1994
Phenomenology and Feminism. Main figures: Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Husserl, Butler, and Irigaray. Main topics: embodiment, time, intersubjectivity, natality, animals, biopower, and the politics of incarceration.
My first book, The Gift of the Other (SUNY Press, 2006) explores the ethical, political and ontological significance of birth as a gift of time. The gift of birth is remarkable in that it is not merely exchanged between existents, but rather generates the one who receives it. In this sense, birth is not only given to me; it also gives me, bringing forth a self who already responds to Others before gaining awareness of itself as an autonomous subject. By reading Levinas' account of ethical temporality alongside feminist analyses of birth from Beauvoir, Arendt, Irigaray, Kristeva and Cornell, I develop both a feminist critique of Levinas' account of paternity and maternity, and also a Levinasian contribution to feminist reproductive politics.
My second book, Social Death and its Afterlives (Minnesota University Press, forthcoming) is a phenomenological critique of solitary confinement, drawing on the work of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Levinas, as well as legal and historical documents in the history of the US penitentiary system, supermax prisons and detention camps such as Guantanamo Bay. Deprived of regular contact with concrete others in a shared space, many prisoners come unhinged from reality; they experience perceptual distortions and hallucinations, they lose track of time, and they even become unable to identify the boundaries of their own bodies. What must subjectivity be like in order for these effects to be possible? Who are we, such that we can be undone in this way, unhinged from ourselves by being separated from others? What ends are served by isolating prisoners to the point of psychological and even ontological derangement?
Selected Recent Publications
‘The Ethics and Politics of Otherness: Negotiating Alterity and Racial Difference.’ philoSOPHIA 1.2, 2011, pp 195-214.
‘Subjects without a World? An Husserlian Analysis of Solitary Confinement.’ Human Studies 34, 2011, pp 257–276.
‘Merleau-Ponty and the Sense of Sexual Difference.’ Angelaki 16:2, 2011, pp 19-33.
‘Shame and the Temporality of Social Life.’ Continental Philosophy Review 44:1, March 2011.
‘Other Fecundities: Proust and Irigaray on Sexual Difference.’ differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies 21:2, 2010, pp 24-45.
‘‘Nameless Singularity’: Levinas on Individuation and Ethical Singularity.’ Epoché 14:1, Fall 2009, pp 167–187.
‘Who follows whom? Derrida, Animals and Women.’ Derrida Today 2:2, 151-65, 2009.
Please click here for abstracts and full papers.
Recent graduate courses: Theories of Sexual Difference, Husserl and his Readers, Levinas
Recent undergraduate courses: Phenomenology, Gender and Sexuality, Biopower,
Phenomenology and Cognitive Science