Current Offerings


PHIL 5050: African American Philosophy

Monday/Wednesday 9:30-10:45

Dr. Eddy Souffrant 

 Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform.  The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. 

   (Quoted in Leonard Harris's Philosophy Born of Struggle)

These words of Frederick Douglass serve as the impetus of the course.  We shall see to what extent African American philosophy can be construed as a philosophy of reform.  We shall take as our starting point the role that race plays in the development of African American thought.  We shall not however understand that the essence of that African American thought is a negative one, namely that it is simply or solely a response to racial policies.  I aim to explore the legacy of racism and the efforts to liberate at once individuals and society at-large from the constraints of negative prejudice.

PHIL 6120: Philosophical Methods

Mondays 5:30-8:15

Dr. Michael Kelly

Explores the distinctive and various methods within philosophy (logical, phenomenological, feminist, conceptual, linguistic, deconstructive, and others), their uses in particular contexts (including links to other disciplines), and how methodology shapes philosophy (including its social impact). One aim is to clarify “applied philosophy” by examining its methods. Students will analyze, evaluate, reconstruct, and originate arguments, judgments, and decisions. They will do so in connection with both texts shared among all the students in the class and the particular interests of individual students. Each student will develop a paper over the course of the semester to bring these issues together.

RELS 5000: Queer Theory

Mondays 6:30-9:15

Dr. Kent Brintnall

Course Description: An examination of the ways the social order shapes our sense of gender and sexual identity, and imposes norms regarding gender behavior and sexual desire. This course will also think about how gender and sexuality inform our experience of subjectivity and the political costs that relate to conforming to or deviating from social norms. It will give close and careful attention to works by central authors in the field—for example, Gayle Rubin, Michel Foucault, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, and Lee Edelman—as well as more contemporary works that examine race, class, disability, and trans* identities.

PHIL 5050: Marx

Tuesdays, 12:30-3:15

Dr. Gordon Hull

Although often reduced to a series of clichés by both their opponents and defenders, Karl Marx’s texts present a complex treatment of wide variety of issues in political philosophy.  They have also been fundamental to the development of a variety of approaches to “critical” philosophy in the twentieth-century – not just Marxists such as Lenin, Lukács and Althusser, but thinkers such as Adorno, Derrida, Deleuze, and Foucault (to name a few) acknowledge the importance and influence of Marx on their work.  In this course, we will look carefully at representative texts from Marx’s corpus in order to study some of the main themes, issues and interpretive difficulties which develop in them. Although most of the course will focus on Capital, we will also look at some of his early writings and later, more programmatic political writings.  Although we will make occasional reference to current debates about and applications of his work, the course's main focus will be on Marx's own writings.


PHIL 5050: Philosophy of Emotion

Tuesdays/Thursdays, 11-12:15

Dr. Shannon Sullivan

Emotion often has been ignored or denigrated by philosophers, contrasted with reason and associated with the body, women, people of color, and other subordinated groups.  Challenging dualisms of emotion versus reason, this course will focus on philosophies that explore the epistemological, political, existential, and other forms of emotion’s relevance and value to human life.  We will analyze emotions such as love, anger/rage, resentment, shame, and joy.  The material for the course will range from historical to contemporary and will draw from a variety of philosophical and interdisciplinary traditions: continental, American, analytic, feminist, and critical race.  Likely readings will come from the work of Plato, Nietzsche, William James, Sara Ahmed, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, and other contemporary figures.


PHIL 6240/8240: Research Ethics in the Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences

Wednesdays 2-4:45

Dr. Lisa Rasmussen

This course is designed to identify the fundamental elements that characterize not only methodologically grounded but also morally appropriate scientific research. Class discussion and readings will focus on key issues in biomedical and behavioral research including informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, risk-benefit assessments, mechanisms for protecting animal and human research subjects, international research, vulnerable populations, conflicts of interest and data management, publication ethics, intellectual property issues and the politics of research.