Dr. Alejandro Arturo Vallega

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Latin American Studies

Brief Biography

Alejandro A. Vallega is assistant professor of philosophy and co-director of the Latin American Studies Program. He was born in Santiago, Chile, and went into exile with his family in 1974. Since then he has lived in Argentina, the United States, Austria, and Italy. His work focuses on Latin American thought, and on particularly on the articulation of thought and its history as it unfolds its consciousness in exteriority or alterity, i.e., beyond and in the periphery of North American and Western European philosophy. His areas of specialization are Latin American philosophy, philosophy of liberation, Ancient Greek philosophy, Contemporary European philosophy (phenomenology, deconstruction, hermeneutics), and history of post-colonial philosophy. His fields of study are primarily esthetics, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of language, and the intrinsic relationship between these. A Latin Americanist, he also teaches 20th century and contemporary Latin American literature and history of Latin American art. Before entering his studies in philosophy he was professionally trained as a fine artists and is an active painter.

Previous Works

Alejandro’s first two books expose openings and limits in contemporary European thought’s move towards a thinking in alterity that goes beyond the history of Western metaphysics and traditional onto-theological philosophy. His first book Heidegger and the Issue of Space: Thinking On Exilic Grounds (Penn State Press, American and Continental Philosophy Series, 2003) focuses on the exilic character of Western thought and its inherent alterity, as figured by Heidegger’s rethinking of the history of metaphysics, with particular reference to the problem of space, and Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Husserl. His latest work, Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limits of Art, Language, and the Political (Contemporary Continental Philosophy Series, SUNY Press, forthcoming, 2009), explores the extent of the exposure to the exteriority of traditional conceptual knowledge that occurs in contemporary European philosophy, as the tradition faces its finitude and finds itself situated in unbounded fecund exposures to otherness. This openness is marked through the encounters of European philosophers with poets, writers, and visual artists from Europe and the Americas. The book shows how this exposure ultimately results in a shift in the understanding of philosophical knowledge and its forms, as thinking now requires a continuous sensibility or articulate exposure to its unbounded otherness.

Alejandro is also the editor of a collection of essays on the work of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, titled Bare Lives: A Philosophical Introduction to Giorgio Agamben for the Italian Philosophy Series, SUNY Press.

Current Research

The Unbounded Muses: Aesthetics in Latin American Philosophy and Art. This work traces the unfolding of an esthetics of exteriority or alterity that occurs in Latin America from the arrival of the conquistadors to date.  Untimely Chronicles: Latin American Thinkers on Contemporary Continental European Philosophy. This is an edited volume that presents writings by Latin American philosophers and writers on philosophers and issues central to contemporary European philosophy. The book’s aim is to give a general view of Continental European philosophy out of Latin American perspectives.
Courses Taught:
Course Number Course Title/Link to Syllabus
PHIL 1010
(Sections 5 and 6)
Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 4700 Latin American Philosophy
Background
Biographical information
Birth Date: 2-18-1964. Place: Santiago, Chile. Citizenships: Italy and USA.

Education

  • Ph.D., Institut für Philosophie, Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria, 1999. Twentieth Century European Thought and Ancient Philosophy.
  • M.A., Department of Philosophy, Boston University, Boston, MA., 1996. Continental Philosophy and History of Philosophy (Ancient).
  • B.A., St. John's College, "Great Books Program," Annapolis, MD., 1993. Liberal Arts, Philosophy and History of Mathematics.
  • B.F.A. studies, Massachusetts College of Arts, Boston, MA., 1985-1989. Painting and Filmmaking
  • Comparative Linguistics, Spanish-English and general theory (Graduate studies, U. of Massachusetts, Boston, Spring, 1989.)

Areas of Specialization

Latin American Thought. Aesthetics, philosophy of art, aesthetics and social-political thought, and philosophy of language (in Continental Philosophy and Hermeneutics). Contemporary European Philosophy and Ancient Philosophy.

Areas of Competence

History of Philosophy. Ethics. Latin American Literature. Comparative Literature (Spanish, English, French, Italian, and German). Broad comparative classes in humanities and Latin American culture.

Fellowships

  • Visiting Fellow, Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna, Austria, 1996. Research on the formation of political and cultural identities out of literary and esthetic currents from exile in Eastern European and Latin American countries in the 19th and 20th century.
  • Visiting scholar, Departamento de Filosofia y Lingüística, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, San Luis, Argentina, May-August, 1995. Research and studies on the political and philosophical implications of Latin American literature and art.

Languages

  • Spanish, English, and Italian. Fluent in speaking and reading German and French. Reading: Ancient Greek, Latin.
Scholarship
Current Research

The Unbounded Muses: Aesthetics in Latin American Philosophy and Art. Book in research stage.

Untimely Chronicles: Latin American Thinkers on Contemporary Continental European Philosophy. This is an edited volume that presents writings by Latin American philosophers and writers on philosophers and issues central to contemporary European philosophy. The book’s aim is to give a general view of Continental European philosophy out of Latin American perspectives.

Book Publications

  1.  
  2. Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limits of Art, Language, and the Political (Contemporary Continental Philosophy Series, SUNY Press, forthcoming in Fall 2008)
  3. Heidegger and the Issue of Space: Thinking On Exilic Grounds (Penn State Press, American and Continental Philosophy Series, 2003)
  4. Bare Lives: A Philosophical Introduction to Giorgio Agamben, editor (Italian Philosophy Series, SUNY Press, under contract)
  5. Companion to Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy, Co-editor (Indiana University Press, 2001).

Articles Published

  •  
  • “Yucatàn, Athens and other Places: Towards a Situated Latin American Thought,” (forthcoming).
  • “The Invisible Muse: On Painting and Language in Merleau-Ponty,”  Internationales Jahrebuch für Hermeneutik, Germany (forthcoming).
  • “Unbounded Histories and Spirits: Hegel, Fanon, and Gabriel García Márquez,” Idealistic Studies, (forthcoming).
  • Quand un corps se met en oeuvre…: Derrida´s Reading of Antonin Artaud,” Epoché (forthcoming).
  • “Die Heidegger-Rezeption in Südamerika,“ Heidegger-Jahrbuch (Heidegger and Nietzsche), Vol.3/2006, Germany.
  • “Hacia la Lectura en el Cine (Sobre el sentido político del cine como obra de arte en Walter Benjamin y Hiroshima Mon Amour),” “Toward Reading the Cinema (concerning the political sense of cinema as art work in Walter Benjamin and Hiroshima Mon Amour),”, Sileno, Fall 2005, Madrid, Spain.
  • “The Lightness of Words: On the Translucence of the Philosophical Logos in Plato’s Phaidros,Epoché, Spring, 2005.
  • “On the Tactility of Words: Gadamer’s Reading of Paul Celan’s Atemkristall,”  Internationales Jahrebuch für Hermeneutik, Band 3/2004.
  • Grapho: The Naming of Painting,” Research in Phenomenology, 2002.
  • “‘Beyng-Historical Thinking’ in Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy,” in: A Companion to Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy. (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2001).
  • “Enactments: ‘Beyng-Historical Thinking’ in Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy,” Proceedings: 34th North Am. Heidegger Meeting, March, 2000.
  • “A Letter from Exile." Justice and the Transition. Vienna: Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, 1997.

Reviews

  • Beets, M.G.J. From Time to Eternity: A Companion to Plato’s Phaedo, Review of Metaphysics, forthcoming
  • The Ister: a Cinematic Essay on Heidegger, The Ister, Scholarly Reviews, www.theister.com

Book Manuscript and Article Reviews

Indiana University Press, SUNY Press, Northwestern University Press, Research in Phenomenology, Review of Metaphysics, and Epoché.

Papers

  •  
  • “Topology and Sensibility in the Philosophy of Liberation: Towards a Situated Latin American Thought.” Philosophy of Liberation: Thinking with Enrique Dussel, April 18th and 19th, 2008. University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
  • “Thinking... That Is, an Act of Life,” 32th session of The Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Cittá di Castello, Italy, July 17st, 2007
  • “Yucatan, Athens and other Places: Notes towards a Latin American Thought,” April 19-21, 2007,SUNY Buffalo, conference on Latin American Thought. 
  • “Unbounded Histories, Spirit Beyond Hegel,” The Society for the Philosophy of History, APA Central, Chicago, April 18th, 2007.
  • “Torn Spirits: From Solitude to the Ethical Word in Hegel, Fanon, and Gabriel García Márquez,” 30th session of The Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Italy, July 21st, 2005.
  • “Hermes from the South,” International Hermeneutisch Symposium, University of Freiburg, Germany, July 2nd, 2005.
  • Quand un corps se met en oeuvre…: Derrida´s Reading of Antonin Artaud,” A Session on the Work of Jacques Derrida, Western Phenomenology Conference Session, APA Pacific, San Francisco, March 23-27, 2005.
  • “The Lightness of Words: On the Translucence of the Philosophical Logos in Plato’s Phaidros,” Ancient Philosophy Society, Penn State University, 2004.
  • Stimmung and Time: Heidegger´s ephemeral and concrete thinking of temporality,” Dritte Inernationale Aussprache zu Martin Heidegger, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany, Juni 2004.
  • “On the Inability to Become European (in spite of our great efforts): some remarks on the possibilities of an American thought,” Conference titled “Ethics, Politics and History in Contemporary Philosophy,” University of Toledo, April 2003.
  • “Passion On the Streets: the Reinvention of the “Passion” in the work of Osvaldo Golijov” (“La pasión en las calles: La reinvención de la pasión en la obra de Osvaldo Golijov.)” Latin American Colloquium, CSU, Stanislaus, 2003.
  • “Concealing Alterity: Understanding the Figure of the Stranger in Plato’s Sophist.”   Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Italy, August, 2002.
  • “As With Written Signs That Have Become Almost Illegible: Poetry, Painting, and Alterity in Gadamer’s Reading of Paul Celan.” Gadamer International Symposium, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, July 2002.
  • “Voice of Night: The Orfic Origins of Socratic Thought in Jose Lezama Lima’s work,” “Voz de la noche: los orígenes órficos del  pensamiento socrático en el pensamiento de Jose Lezama Lima” Latin American Colloquium, CSU, Stanislaus, 2002.
  • “The Myth of Reason and the Tragic Voice of the Philosopher in Plato’s Phaedo.” Center for the Humanities, University of Oregon, Eugene, April, 2002.
  • “Latino America: The Question of Latin American Identity.” Latin American Studies Colloquium, CSU Stanislaus, May 1st, 2001.
  • “Thinking In Remembrance of Ends to Come.” Colloquium of the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago, April, 5th, 2001.
  • “On Exilic Grounds: Towards Understanding the Question of Hospitality.” Philosophy Department, CSU, Stanislaus, March, 2001.
  • “The Light Thoughtfulness of the Political: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity... Consistency in Calvino’s ‘Sei Proposte per il Prossimo Millennio.’” SPEP, October, 2000.
  • “Enactments: ‘Beyng-Historical Thinking’ in Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy.” 34th North American Heidegger Meeting, May 19-21, 2000, Marshall University, West Virginia.
  • “The Strange Hospitality of Time: Heidegger and Ethico-Ontological Thought.” APA Pacific, Western Phenom. Conference, Albuquerque, NM, April, 2000.
  • “The Hero’s Absent Return: Odysseus and the Exile’s Middle Voice.” CSU Stanislaus, December 15, 1999.
  • “A Few Words Concerning ‘No-one.’” Body Politics Symposium, University of Toledo, April 1999.
  • “Die Befreiung der Raumfrage in Sein und Zeit.” Institute for Philosophy, University of Vienna, May, 1998.

International Scholarly Activities and Teaching

  • Honorary Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. June 2008.
  • “International Hermeneutisch Symposium,” Freiburg University, Germany (founding member).
  • “Collegium Phaenomenologicum,” Citta di Castello, Italy, faculty since 1998. Co-director in 2004.
  • “Society for the Study of Latin American and European Philosophy,” also known as “grupo imago.” Developing project: This is an international group (composed of members of philosophy faculties and graduate students throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United States) dedicated to the investigation and development of philosophical works born in the crossings of South American and European thought. As part of this effort, I have been invited to lead a yearly seminar on Latin American Thought and European Philosophy each June at Freiburg University, Germany.

Participation at Congresses, Associations

  • American Philosophical Association (APA).
  • Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP), 2004-2005.
  • International Hermeneutisch Symposium, Freiburg Univ., Germany, cofounder.
  • Ancient Philosophy Society (APS).
  • Heidegger North American Meeting (Heidegger Circle).
  • Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (SAAP)
  • Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Cittá di Castello, Italy, 1997 to date. Faculty member: 1998 to date. Director in 2004.
  • Western Phenomenology Conference, co-director.
  • Latin American Studies Association (LASA).
Employment & Teaching
Employment
  •  
  • Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Latin American Studies, Department of Philosophy and Modern Languages, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, California State University, Stanislaus, Fall 2007.
  • Co-director of the Latin American Studies Program, Department of Philosophy and Modern Languages, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, California State University, Stanislaus Fall 2006 to present.
  • Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Latin American Studies Program, Department of Philosophy and Modern Languages, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, California State University, Stanislaus Fall 1999 to present.
  • Visiting Lecturer, Department of Philosophy and Modern Languages, CSU Stanislaus, Fall, 1999 – July, 2007.
  • Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University, 1998-1999.
  • Assistant Tutor, St. John's College, Annapolis, MD., 1992-1993. Led seminar for seniors in High School as part of the St. John's outreach humanities program.
  • Assistant Tutor, St. John’s College, Annapolis, Md., 1992 - 1993. Assistant to an undergraduate seminar on first year science (ancient and modern biology and physics).

Other employment

  • Interpreter and Translator, Boston Translations, Boston, 1993 - 1996. Specialization: legal depositions, Federal Tax Courts, welfare cases (field work.)
  • Language Instructor, Inlingua, Boston, 1994 - 1996. Private tutoring.
  • Translator, Linguistic Systems Inc., Cambridge, MA. 1993-1996.
  • Interpreter and Translator, Catholic Charities of Boston, 1993-1995. Social work cases.

Teaching experience

  • Undergraduate introductory and advanced classes:
    • CSU Stanislaus: Philosophy Department, Honors Program, Visiting Lecturer, 1998 to date.
    • CSU Stanislaus: Latin American Studies program, faculty, 2000 to date.
    • Penn State University, Philosophy Department, Lecturer, 1997-1998.
    • Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina: seminar on the situation of Latin American thought in contemporary European and North American perspectives,1995.
    • “Great Books Program,” St. John’s College, MD., 1993
  • Graduate teaching:
    • CSU Stanislaus, Interdisciplinary Master’s Program (Philosophy), 2003-2004.
    • Collegium Phaenomenologicum faculty 1999 to date.
    • Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna, Austria,1996.

Classes taught at CSU

  • Philosophy: Introduction to Philosophy; Contemporary Moral Issues (Human Rights); Critical Thinking; Honors Critical Thinking; Race Theory; Ancient Philosophy; Ethics; Aesthetics and philosophy of art; Latin American Thought.
     
  • Modern Languages: Cervantes; Latin American Literature in Translation; Latin American Literature and Civilization of Spanish America II (1890-present).
     
  • Senior and graduate level seminars: A Esthetics of Politics in Giorgio Agamben (with reference to Michel Foucault and Walter Benjamin); Friendship, Politics, and Hospitality in the work of Derrida; “Aesthetics” and Language: Plato’s Phaedrus and Derrida’s “Plato’s Pharmacy” and Memoirs of the Blind; The Sophist of Plato and Heidegger’s lecture course Plato’s Sophist; Gadamer and “aesthetics”: The Relevance of the Beautiful and Truth and Method (with reference to films by Duras and Resnais, and Luis Buñuel). Advanced Studies in the History of Philosophy: an introduction to Heidegger´s Being and Time through Aristotle, Kant, and Husserl. Advanced undergraduate and graduate independent studies in specific topics and authors in philosophy.

Classes Developed:

  • 20th Century Latin American Poetry and Painting
  • Latin American Film
  • Philosophy of Film (Advanced Level for Majors and non-majors)
  • Critical Race Theory (Advanced Level for Majors and non-majors)
  • Latin-American Thought (Advanced Level for Majors and non-majors)
  • Literary Theory in Contemporary Continental Thought (requirement for students in the Philosophy Interdisciplinary Master’s program Philosophy)
  • Spanish and Latin American Philosophy in Continental Thought (requirement for students in the Interdisciplinary Master’s program in Continental Philosophy and Latin American Thought)

University and Community Services

  • Department Committees / Service
    • Co-director, and reconstruction of the Latin American Studies Program.
    • Development of Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Critical Studies and
      Philosophy.
    • Development of Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Latin American Thought.
    • Thesis director, Interdisciplinary Masters Program.
    • Thesis director, Honors Program.
    • Honors task force, committee for the development of the CSU Honors program.
    • Recruitment for Philosophy program and Honors program.
    • Student placement, philosophy department.
    • Committee for five year review, CSU’s philosophy program (approved 2002).
    • Organizer and coordinator of the philosophy dept.’s lecture and distinguished guests visit series, CSU Stanislaus 1999-to date.

Outside Professional Services

  • Director’s board, Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Cittá di Castello, Italy.
  • Diversity Committee Chair (2005-2006), member in 2004-2005. Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.
  • Program committee for the Ancient Philosophy Society 2004-2005.
  • Director Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Italy, July 19 - August 6th, 2004.
  • Organizer of the Western Phenomenology Conference at the meeting at the APA Pacific, New Mexico, 2000; San Francisco, 2001; Seattle, 2002; San Francisco, 2003, and Pasadena, 2004; San Francisco, 2005; Portland, Oregon, 2006; San Francisco, 2007; Pasadena, 2008.
Other Activities
Latin American folk music, tango dancing, and painting.
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