Upcoming Offerings

Fall 2019

Indigenous Feminisms

PHIL 5050 · Dr. Elisabeth Paquette · Monday, 2:30-5:15

The course focuses on Indigenous feminist writings that both aim toward a constructive project of maintaining and respecting Indigenous ways of life, and that seek to address the detrimental consequences of U.S. and Canadian settler colonialism. We begin with a theoretical analysis of key concepts such as settler colonialism, Indigeneity, gender, and institutional racism. Using these key concepts, we will then examine present-day colonial formations located through state-sponsored child and family welfare services, patterns of incarceration, high rates of sexual violence, and the displacement of Indigenous peoples from their traditional lands. Lastly, we examine state-based efforts to address the needs of Indigenous communities, and collective strategies of resistance practiced by Indigenous women.

Latin American Thought

PHIL 6050 · Dr. Andrea Pitts · Tuesday, 5:30-8:15

The focus of this section of PHIL 6050 will be Queer Migration Studies. This means that we will focus on themes of movement, mobility, and displacement within the context of Latin American and Chicanx/Latinx Studies. Additionally, our analysis in the course will include issues relating to gender and sexuality through various transnational, diasporic, and hemispheric lenses to underscore the movement of forms of identification, meaning-making, and community formation across the Americas.

Philosophical Methods & Analysis

PHIL 6120 · Dr. Trevor Pearce · Wednesday, 1:25-4:10

This course is an introduction to the various methods of doing philosophy—not only to the analytical reading and writing skills you will need as a graduate student, but also to various philosophical traditions, each characterized by a certain approach to philosophical problems. Philosophy at UNCC is intertraditional, meaning that our students and faculty draw from many traditions of philosophy rather than focusing on a single approach. We will begin the class by examining three broad traditions: history of philosophy, analytic philosophy, and continental philosophy. We will then turn to a few of the ‘methods’ used by those working in and across these traditions: phenomenology, genealogy, and pragmatism. Finally, we will investigate of series of areas and approaches that are prominent in our own department: applied ethics, feminism, Latin American philosophy, Africana philosophy, and critical philosophy of race. Throughout the class, you will get to know your fellow first-year graduate students as well as many faculty members here, since most classes will include a visit from a specialist in the relevant approach to philosophy.

Research Ethics in Biomedical & Behavioral Sciences

PHIL 6240 · Dr. Lisa Rasmussen · Thursday, 1:00-3:45

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.

Feminist Theory and Its Applications

PHIL 6320 · Dr. Elisabeth Paquette · Wednesday, 5:30-8:15

The primary concern in this course is the intersection of gender and language. Specifically, we will address how writers attempt to represent gender through the act of writing, paying particular attention to the limits of language, relations between dominant narratives and marginal feminist perspectives, and consider ways of disrupting these dominant narratives. This course begins with French feminist theorists, such as Simone de Beauvoir, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva and their performances of feminine écriture (feminine writing), a technique which aims to create space for women centered theories of gender through writing. However, this course also seeks to further displace problematic sex and gender categories by examining decolonial, queer, and anti-racist frameworks of analysis by such authors as Sylvia Wynter and Monique Wittig.

MA Research Paper

PHIL 6999 · Dr. Gordon Hull · Tuesday, 1:00-3:45

In this course, students will begin with a previously submitted course paper and spend the semester revising it.  The goal is for each student to produce a polished, professional paper worthy of submission to a philosophical journal. Additional reading and research on the topic will be conducted, and multiple steps of revision and presentation of work in progress will be included.

Spring 2020


PHIL 5050 · Dr. Phillip McReynolds · Tuesday, 11:30-12:45

The goal of this course is to introduce students to French existentialism and to help them understand the historical and political circumstances in Paris following WWII that helped give birth to French existential philosophy. Coined by Jean-Paul Sartre in the 1940s, the term “existentialism” fundamentally—and somewhat infamously—means that existence precedes essence. Human beings create the “essence” of humanity in and through their choices; there is no natural or God-given form of humanity to which they must conform. Thus, human freedom and responsibility, which often are accompanied by bad faith as people avoid their freedom, are central components of human existence. Co-developed by Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and critically modified by Franz Fanon and Albert Camus, French existentialism influenced many philosophers, scholars, and artists in the 20th century and continues to be an important and influential theory today. (This course has a spring break study abroad component in Paris.)


PHIL 5050 · Dr. Gordon Hull · Wednesday, 1:25-4:10

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.

Queer Theory

PHIL 5050 · Dr. Kent Brintnall · TBD

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.

Race & Sound

PHIL 6050 · Dr. Robin James · Monday, 2:30-5:15

Western philosophy typically understands race and racial difference to be primarily visual. For example, Linda Alcoff speculates that de-centering vision would in turn de-center white supremacy: “without the operation through sight, then, perhaps race would truly wither away,” and we would know people on the basis of “their subjective lives . . . and not merely [their] objective and arbitrary bodily features (Visible Identities, 198). However, as scholars such as Nina Sun Eidsheim and Jennifer Stoever have shown, sounds are also racialized and practices of listening, hearing, and making sounds are both structured by white supremacy and used to resist or avoid it. In this course, we will study the sonic dimensions of race and white supremacy. We will discuss issues such as: the role of music in the distinction between what Charles Mills calls Rousseau’s early, non-ideal contract and his later, ideal or “domination” contract; the role of racialized sound in Nietzsche’s repudiation of Wagner; Eidsheim’s work on the racialization of vocal timbre; Stoever’s and others’ work on the role of sound in the history of African-American thought; and race in contemporary popular music.

Theories of Resistance

PHIL 6050 · Dr. Elisabeth Paquette · Monday, 5:30-8:15

This course takes as its starting point the conceptions of “being human” developed in the work of decolonial theorist Sylvia Wynter. Beginning with her decolonial project, we examine the relation between dominant conceptions of the political subject-human and structures of knowledge production, as well as the impact such conceptions have in the contemporary context. Doing so provides a framework for theorizing the tools necessary for resisting dominant and oppressive structures. For instance, we consider the implications of Wynter’s conception of “epistemic disobedience,” as well as her conception of the “disenchantment of discourses,” for the production of counter narratives by women of color writers. We will also consider the ways in which “mapping” and cartography broadly construed operate as perpetuating dominant structures, or as creating resistant terrains. Other figures of study include Katherine McKittrick, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Suzanne Césaire, Monique Wittig, Maria Lugones, and Mishuana Goeman.

Ethical Theory

PHIL 6110 · Dr. Phillip McReynolds · Tuesday, 2:30-5:15

In this course, we will critically examine some of the major historical approaches to ethical theory including the moral theories of Aristotle, Kant, Mill, and Hume. After this, we will shift to more contemporary approaches to moral theory rooted in existentialism, pragmatism, and recent empirical research into (4E) cognitive science, linguistics, neurophysiology, and the social sciences. By the end of the course students will understand the key ideas of, differences between, and critiques of the main historical approaches to moral theory and a have knowledge of a lively area of current research into the origins, nature, and grounding of goodness, values, justice, right, and related concepts.

Health Law & Ethics

PHIL 6220 · Dr. Ruth Groenhout · Thursday, 2:30-5:15

This course interprets and uses the main normative principles of bioethics (autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice) to guide the practice of healthcare professionals and policymakers. It also increases understanding, interpretation, and monitoring of the impact of legal, regulatory, and political environments on healthcare organizations. Topics include: medical malpractice, Medicare and Medicaid law, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, reproductive freedom, death and dying, pain and suffering, allocation of scarce medical resources, developments in genetics, and regenerative medicine.