Larry Alan Busk, Jr.

Contact Information

Building Location: Science I, S 246
See Building #9 Map
Office Location: S 246 See Map
Phone: 209-667-3286

Full-Time Lecturer

As a teacher and as a scholar, my primary interest is in understanding the contemporary world through philosophical perspectives and analysis. In my understanding, this is not just a matter of ‘applying’ philosophy to ‘real world’ situations, but of allowing concrete historical, political, and socioeconomic realities to inform our theoretical work and our pedagogy. Specifically, I am interested in the meaning and consequences of anthropogenic climate change, as well as the dangers posed by various forms of racist and xenophobic populism. At a broad level, my work seeks to answer two questions: 1) what implications do these phenomena have for political philosophy generally, and democratic theory more specifically? and 2) What theoretical and critical tools are adequate to understanding and confronting these phenomena?

In my research, I approach these questions via engagements with a wide variety of figures in 20th and 21st century philosophy, largely (but not exclusively) from the Continental tradition. I have published on the work on Hannah Arendt, the early Frankfurt School, the radical democracy of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, recent debates over the term ‘American philosophy,’ and the social-political writings of the French phenomenologists (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre). I have also published outside of the domain of political philosophy, including a piece on the speculative realism of Quentin Meillassoux, because I believe that political questions are inseparable from broader ontological and methodological concerns. I also believe that trends in popular culture are important for philosophical theory, and so I have published work on movies and television.

My teaching is informed by a rigorous commitment to the subject matter at hand, and by a sense of obligation to connect the students to the material such that they find it compelling and worth learning. While being committed to teaching the philosophical classics, I also try to complement canonical texts with interdisciplinary readings and, when appropriate, popular periodicals, as well as philosophical interventions that present challenges to the canon and its history. In the classroom, I strive to create an atmosphere of inclusive discussion that respects the diverse backgrounds of students without ever making them feel as if their contribution is determined by or only valuable as it relates to that background. 


Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Oregon,  2018

M.A., Philosophy, University of Oregon, 2015

B.A., Philosophy, Webster University, 2013


Democracy in Spite of the Demos:  From Arendt to the Frankfurt School. Reinventing Critical Theory series, Rowman and Littlefield International, March 2020. Preface by Antonio Y Vázquez-Arroyo.

Journal Articles

  • "Climate X or Climate Jacobin? A Critical Exchange on Our Planetary Future" (with Russell Duvernoy) Radical Philosophy Review 23.2 (forthcoming 2020)
  • “Radical Democracy with what Demos? Mouffe and Laclau after the Rise of the Right.” Radical Philosophy Review 21.2 (2018): 225-248
  • “History as Chiasm, Chiasm as History.” Philosophy Today 62.1 (2018): 285-298
  • “Narcissus and the Transcendental: Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze, and the Challenge of Meillassoux.” (with Billy Dean Goehring) Chiasmi International 19 (2017): 401-416
  • “Who are the True Machiavellians? Althusser and Merleau-Ponty Reading The Prince.” (with Elizabeth Portella) Rethinking Marxism 29.3 (2017): 405-415
  • “Two Women in Flight in Beauvoir’s Fiction.” Southwest Philosophy Review 33.1 (2017): 105-114
  • “It’s a Good Life? Adorno and the Happiness Machine.” Constellations 23.4 (2016): 523-535
  • “Anti-Intellectualism’s Not Dead: Romano, Lysaker, and American Philosophy.” The Pluralist 11.2 (2016): 49-63
  • Westworld: Ideology, Simulation, Spectacle.” Mediations 30.1 (2016): 25-38
  • “Sleepwalker: Arendt, Thoughtlessness, and the Question of Little Eichmanns.” Social Philosophy Today 31 (2015): 53-69
  • “The Violence of the Political and the Politics of Violence: Dirty Hands Reconsidered.” Sartre Studies International 21.1 (2015): 53-74
  • “What is a Working-Class Intellectual?” (with Billy Dean Goehring) Rhizomes 27 (2014

Book Chapters

“Looking Like Number Twelve" The Twilight Zone and Philosophy, ed. Alexander E. Hooke and Heather Rivera. Chicago: Open Court, 2018, 205-213.

Writings For A General Audience

"What is Critical Theory's Role Today?" Blog of the American Philosophical Association, June 14, 2018


California State University, Stanislaus

PHIL 4401: Professional Ethics
PHIL 2000/2005: Critical Thinking/Honors
PHIL 2400:  Contemporary Moral Issues
PHIL 2100:  Logic
PHIL 1010:  Introduction to Philosophy