I think a philosophical life matters. It makes us deeper, not necessarily better. I mean by that that philosophy can cultivate our capacities to experience the world, enriching how we value, enjoy, suffer, understand ourselves, and relate to others. It is the mark of an intellectually and spiritually stunted society to think that everything has to be useful, and the mark of a truly one-dimensional culture to think that what is useful has to be economically profitable.
My primary philosophical interests concern the intersection of three mutually determining issues: normalization, exclusion, and excess. My research considers how processes of normalization structure and regulate our values, discourses, and knowledge. It also addresses how those processes require the exclusion of ways of being resistant to productive assimilation (i.e., ways of living, experiencing, thinking, desiring, creating, questioning, and valuing). Most importantly, though, I'm interested in how those same ways of being say something about the character of our existence that breaks with the kind of prosaic life sanctioned by the social order. In this way, my work brings together ontological and ethico-political considerations, as well as concerns pertaining to the scope and limits of critical theory. My approach is phenomenological, hermeneutical, and/or genealogical as warranted by the specific phenomena at issue.
I'm currently completing a book on the issue of community in the work of Georges Bataille. The book aims to clarify the terms, stakes, and critical limits of that issue as a point of interest in recent continental philosophy. Some paper titles from the last few years also give a sense of my interests: Wonder and the Elemental: Suffering Beyond Ethics (Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 2013), Sacred Violence and the Death of God: Bataille's Lucid Fanaticism (Philosophy Today, 2012), and No More Beautiful Days: Situating Agamben's Coming Community (Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, 2011).
B.A., Hiram College (Religious Studies), June 1991
M.A., Vanderbilt University (Religion), December 1993
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University (Philosophy), August 2001
Areas of Specialization
- 20th Century Continental Philosophy (esp. Phenomenology, Deconstruction, Existentialism, Heidegger, Derrida, Blanchot, Bataille, Nancy, Benjamin)
- 19th Century Continental Philosophy (esp. Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche)
Areas of Competence
- Philosophy of Literature
- Philosophy of Language
- Philosophy of Art
- Social and Political Thought (esp. Deconstruction, Frankfurt School, College of Sociology)
The Obsessions of Georges Bataille: Community and Communication, co-edited with Andrew J. Mitchell (SUNY Press, 2009)
- "National Unity and Potlach: Genealogical Observations Pertaining to North America's Accursed Share," Comparative and Continental Philosophy, forthcoming
- "Language, Animality, Sovereignty: On the Conditions of Community after the End of History," reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 355, ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau, Cengage, 2014, pp. 66-75.
- "Wonder and The Elemental: Suffering Beyond Ethics," Comparative and Continental Philosophy, Vol. 5, No. 1., May 2013, 9-18
- "Sacred Violence and the Death of God: Bataille's Lucid Fanaticism," in Philosophy Today, vol. 56:2, May 2012.
- "No More Beautiful Days: Situating Agamben's Coming Community," Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, Fall 2011.
- "Language, Animality, Sovereignty: On the Conditions of Community after the End of History," in theory@buffalo, Spring 2010.
- "Solitude, Violation, Alterity: Juan Rulfo's Wastelands," SubStance, vol. 38, no. 2, 2009 (Issue 119).
- "The Contestation of Community," in The Obsessions of Georges Bataille: Community and Communication (SUNY Press, 2009).
- "Fragments of the Philosophy of History," Idealistic Studies, 2008.
- "Genealogy, History, and the Work of Fiction," in Styles of Piety: Practicing Philosophy after the Death of God, ed. S. Clark Buckner and Matthew Statler (Fordham University Press, 2006)
- "The Expiation of Authority: Towards a Genealogy of Community," Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, vol. 10, no. 1, 2005.
- "On the Lineage of Oblivion: Heidegger, Blanchot, and the Fragmentation of Truth," Research in Phenomenology, 2005
- "Before the Subject: Rereading Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy," Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Spring 2003.
- "Crossing the Line: Heidegger, Blanchot, and the Lineage of Nihilism," Heidegger Conference Proceedings, 2002
- "Bearing the Writing of the Subject," Parallax 2002 (On Kant's Critique of Judgment)
- "The Repetition of Eternal Return, or the Disastrous Step: From Deleuze to Blanchot," Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, 2001.
- "Concealing Difference: Derrida and Heidegger's Thinking of Becoming," Research in Phenomenology, 1999.
- Jean-Luc Nancy, The Confronted Community, in The Obsessions of Georges Bataille
- Marc F. Meurice, An Alteration of the Sense of His Blood, in The Obsessions of Georges Bataille
- "Caring for Indifference: A Review of Charles E. Scott's Living with Indifference," in Research Phenomenology, Vol. 38, No.1, 2008.
Conference Presentations | Lectures:
- "Transgressive Hypoethics: Freedom, Literature and Politics," Colloquium, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, November 3, 2016, (invited).
- "Echolocation: Music, Place, and Existential Meaning," NEH Symposium, Modesto Junior College, Modesto, CA October 21, 2016, (invited).
- "Politics, Literary Imagination, Colonization: Toward a Minor Politics of Literature," PACT, , University of Hawaii, Hilo, Hawaii, September 17, 2016.
- "On the Philosophical Determination of Literature," Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Cittá di Castello, Italy July 28, 2016, (invited).
- "Consumption, Gratitude, Generosity," PACT, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, September 26, 2016.
- "Images of Existence," PACT, Plenary Lecture, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, October 2, 2015.
- "Method, Dramatization, Representation: Bataille's Sovereign Literature," SPEP, Rochester, NY, November 2, 2012.
- "Wonder and the Elemental: Suffering Beyond Ethics," PACT, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, September 28, 2012.
- "Ecstatic Atheism: Bataille's Community with Nietzsche," SPEP, Montreal, Quebec, November 5, 2010.
- "The Fate of Community: On the Conditions of Communication," Just Theory Lecture Series, Comparative Literature, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, April 15, 2010.
- "Solitude, Violation, Alterity: Juan Rulfo's Deserts," CSU Stanislaus Philosophy Speakers Series, February, 2009.
- "Solitude, Alterity, and Violation in Juan Rulfo's Deserts," American Academy of Comparative Literature, Long Beach, CA, February, 2009.
- "Recasting the Revaluation of Values: Unavowable Filth," An Interdisciplinary Symposium: The Sacred and the Debased: Humanity, Community and Cruelty in the Work of Georges Bataille, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA, February, 2008.
- "Nondetermination and Exposure," CSU Stanislaus Philosophy Colloquium, Turlock, CA, September 2007.
- "Nondetermination and Exposure: Photography and the Communication of Pain," Plenary Roundtable Session, International Association of Philosophy and Literature, Cyprus, Italy, June 2007.
- "The Contestation of Community," American Philosophical Association, San Francisco, Spring 2007.
Towards a Genealogy of Community, a treatment of the issue of community in contemporary continental discourse with special attention to the way this issue exhibits different and conflicting lineages, problems, and conceptions of philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy
Honors Critical Thinking Seminar
Classics of Western Philosophy
Philosophical Reading and Analysis
Introduction to Continental Philosophy
Philosophy through Literature
Advanced Studies in the History of Philosophy (Seminars on Hegel, Nietzsche, Bataille, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty))
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Art
Contemporary Latin American Philosophy
Chair, Department of Philosophy and Modern Languages (June 2010-present)
Organizer of Philosophy Colloquia Series (June 2010-present)
University RSCA Policy Committee (Fall 2015-present)
Chair of CAHSS Chairs Council (Fall 2013-Spring 2014)
Modern Languages Search Committee (Spring 2014)
Library RPT Committee (Spring 2014)
Critical Thinking Learning Community (For Assessment of GE area A3) (Fall 2012-Spring 2013)
Departmental RPT Committee, chair (Fall 2011-Spring 2013)
Departmental Tenure-Track Search Committee, chair (Spring 2011)
Chairs Council General Education Task Force (Spring 2011)
Interim Director of Interdisciplinary Studies M.A./M.S. Program (Fall 2010-Spring 2012)
Organizer for Philosophy Colloquia Series (Fall 2010-present)
Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Philosophy (June 2010-present)
Department of Philosophy Library Representative (Spring 2010-Fall 2011)
CHSS Committee on Committees, chair (Fall 2009-Spring 2010)
Department RPT Committee, chair (Fall 2009-Spring 2010)
Interdisciplinary Studies MA/MS Program Committee (Fall 2009)
HSS Committee on Committees (Fall 2008-2010)
CSU Stanislaus SB 1212 Panel (Fall 2007-S2009)
Departmental Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Committee (Fall 2007-present)
School of Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum Committee (Fall 2006-2008)
Chair, Departmental Chair Search Committee (Spring 2004)
General Education Subcommittee (Fall 2004-Spring 2006)
General Education Subcommittee, chair (Fall 2005-Spring 2006)
Philosophical Society Advisor (Spring 2004-2005)
Honors Program Steering Committee (Fall 2003-Spring 2010)
Honors Program Advisory Board (Fall 2002-Spring 2010)