I am a Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta. I have a BA in Philosophy from the University of Victoria (1998), and a BA and MA in Art History from McGill University (2000 and 2002), and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (2006). I wrote my Master’s thesis on the aesthetics of sadism and masochism in Italian Renaissance painting and my PhD dissertation on philosophies of confession. My dissertation was published by Routledge in 2008 as The Culture of Confession from Augustine to Foucault: A Genealogy of the Confessing Animal. From 2006 to 2008 I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Philosophy department at McGill University, where I began projects on Foucault, feminism, and sexual crime, and Foucault, feminism, and food politics. The first of these projects recently culminated in the book: Foucault, Feminism, and Sex Crimes: An Anti-Carceral Analysis (Routledge 2018). The latter project is now being co-authored with Kelly Struthers Montford (University of British Columbia Okanagan) and will be published as Abnormal Appetites: Foucault and the Politics of Food (under contract with McGill-Queens University Press). Kelly and I are also currently completing two co-edited books: Cripping Critical Animal Studies (with Stephanie Jenkins), and Decolonizing Critical Animal Studies, both to be published in 2019 in the Critical Animal Studies series of Brill Press. Kelly and I have also recently signed a contract to co-edit a third book together, titled Building Abolition: Decarceration and Social Justice, to be published in a new Routledge series on penal abolitionism and transformative justice.
I am now at work on two new, SSHRC-funded research projects. The first, Insight Grant project, “Intersections of Animality,” builds on work in environmental feminist philosophy and feminist critical animal studies by urging a transformation in the anthropocentric understanding of intersectionality that is currently the norm in social justice scholarship. This project explores the intersections of species with gender, race, sexuality, class, disability, madness, old age, vulnerability and precarity through a series of studies of philosophical, literary and social justice studies texts.
The second, Insight Development Grant project, “Anthropocene Affects,” is a pilot project that will lead into a larger, book-length study, tentatively titled Feminist Philosophy in an Age of Extinction. As a first foray into putting Anthropocene and extinction studies into conversation with feminist philosophy, this project draws upon feminist philosophies of emotion and feminist affect theory to examine common affective responses to the current environmental catastrophe and its projected impacts on life on earth. This project urges scholars to engage with and understand the affective states that are typical of the Anthropocene because these are predominantly anxiety and despair, which lead seamlessly to apathy, denial, and complacency—and it is urgent that we find ways to resist and transform these affects, and to find realistic and radical possibilities for hope, if we are to remain politically engaged at a time when such engagement is crucial to the future of life on earth. This project is thus particularly interested in how we can be fully cognizant of and engaged with the facts of the Anthropocene, and yet avoid complacency, disengagement, denial, and despair. Building on this initial work, Feminist Philosophy in an Age of Extinction will draw on feminist ontologies to consider debates around the naming of the Anthropocene and what this epoch means, feminist epistemologies to consider climate change denial, and feminist ethical and political theory in order to explore possibilities for interspecies flourishing and political engagement in the midst of environmental crisis and great dying.
In addition to the projects described above, in recent years I have also published The Routledge Guidebook to Foucault’s The History of Sexuality (Routledge 2017), and two co-edited volumes: Feminist Philosophies of Life (McGill-Queens University Press 2016) with Hasana Sharp, and Asian Perspectives on Animal Ethics (Routledge 2014) with Neil Dalal.
In 2014 I was elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.
In 2019 I was promoted to Full Professor and awarded a Great Supervisor Award.
Credit: Foucault and Cats pillow created for Chloë by fabulous feminist philosopher and friend Ada Jaarsma. For more on Ada’s Philosopher Pillow Portraits, see: http://nomorepotlucks.org/site/sleeping-with-philosophers-an-interview-with-ada-jaarsma-on-philosopher-pillow-portraits-ela-przybylo/