• Le flair animal: Levinas and the Possibility of Animal Friendship
    Phaenex: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture 2 (2). 2007.
    In Otherwise than Being, Levinas writes that the alterity of the Other escapes “le flair animal,” or the animal’s sense of smell. This paper puts pressure on the strong human-animal distinction that Levinas makes by considering the possibility that, while non-human animals may not respond to the alterity of the Other in the way that Levinas describes as responsibility, animal sensibility plays a key role in a relation to Others that Levinas does not discuss at length: friendship. This approach t…Read more
  •  1
    Introduction: Death and Other Penalties
    In Lisa Guenther, Geoffrey Adelsberg & Scott Zeman (eds.), Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration, Fordham Up. pp. 1-10. 2015.
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    Maroon Philosophy: An Interview with Russell “Maroon” Shoatz
    with Russell “Maroon” Shoatz
    In Lisa Guenther, Geoffrey Adelsberg & Scott Zeman (eds.), Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration, Fordham Up. pp. 60-74. 2015.
  •  4
    Chapter 13. An Abolitionism Worthy of the Name
    In Kelly Oliver & Stephanie Straub (eds.), Deconstructing the Death Penalty: Derrida's Seminars and the New Abolitionism, Fordham University Press. pp. 239-258. 2020.
  •  3
    Dwelling in Carceral Space
    Levinas Studies 12 61-82. 2018.
    What is the relationship between prisons designed to lock people in and suburban fortresses designed to lock people out? Building on Jonathan Simon’s account of “homeowner citizenship,” I argue that the gated community is the structural counterpart to the prison in a neoliberal carceral state. Levinas’s account of the ambiguity of dwelling—as shelter for our constitutive relationality, as a site of mastery or possessive isolation, and as the opening of hospitality—helps to articulate what is at …Read more
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    Many prisoners in solitary confinement experience adverse psychological and physical effects such as anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, headaches, hallucinations and other perceptual distortions. Psychiatrists call this SHU syndrome, named after the Security Housing Units [SHU] of supermax prisons. While psychiatric accounts of the effects of supermax confinement are important, especially in a legal context, they are insufficient to account for the phenomenological and even ontological harm of solit…Read more
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    This volume addresses some of the most prominent questions in contemporary bioethics and philosophy of medicine: ‘liberal’ eugenics, enhancement, the normal and the pathological, the classification of mental illness, the relation between genetics, disease and the political sphere, the experience of illness and disability, and the sense of the subject of bioethical inquiry itself. All of these issues are addressed from a “continental” perspective, drawing on a rich tradition of inquiry into these…Read more
  •  5
    Editorial Introduction: Special Topics Issue on Other Animals
    with Chloë Taylor
    PhaenEx 2 (2). 2007.
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    Motivated by a conviction that mass incarceration and state execution are among the most important ethical and political problems of our time, the contributors to this volume come together from a diverse range of backgrounds to analyze, critique, and envision alternatives to the injustices of the U.S. prison system, with recourse to deconstruction, phenomenology, critical race theory, feminism, queer theory, and disability studies. They engage with the hyper-incarceration of people of color, the…Read more
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    This paper analyzes the Security Housing Unit in Pelican Bay State Prison as a form of weaponized architecture for the torture of prisoners and the unmaking of the world. I argue that through collective resistance, prisoners in the Pelican Bay Short Corridor have re-purposed this weaponized architecture as a tool for remaking the world by creating new, resistant and resurgent forms of social life. This collective practice of remaking of the world used the self-destructive tactic of a hunger stri…Read more
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  • Birth, Time, and Ethics
    Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada). 2002.
    What does it mean to be born, or to give birth? I explore the relation between ethics and time through a phenomenology of birth, understood as the gift of the Other. My birth is not my own; apart from death, it is that moment when I am least present as a self-determining subject. But unlike death, birth binds me to an Other without whom I could not exist. This difference opens the possibility of understanding time in its ethical dimensions, as time from an Other and for the Other. To be born is …Read more
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    Beyond Dehumanization: A Post-Humanist Critique of Intensive Confinement
    Journal of Critical Animal Studies. Special Issue on Animals and Prisons 10 (2). 2012.
    Prisoners involved in the Attica rebellion and in the recent Georgia prison strike have protested their dehumanizing treatment as animals and as slaves. Their critique is crucial for tracing the connections between slavery, abolition, the racialization of crime, and the reinscription of racialized slavery within the US prison system. I argue that, in addition to the dehumanization of prisoners, inmates are further de-animalized when they are held in conditions of intensive confinement such as …Read more
  • In 2003, The Guardian newspapers ran an article with the headline, “Prospect of babies from unborn mothers.” A team of Israeli researchers had been attempting to grow viable eggs from the ovarian tissue of aborted fetuses for use in fertility treatments such as IVF. The rhetoric of “unborn mothers” poses new challenges to the liberal feminist discourse of personhood. How do we articulate the ethical issues involved in harvesting eggs from an aborted fetus, without resurrecting the debate over …Read more
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    While Merleau-Ponty does not theorize sexual difference at any great length, his concepts of the flesh and the institution of a sense suggest hitherto undeveloped possibilities for articulating sexual difference beyond the male?female binary. For Merleau-Ponty, flesh is a ?pregnancy of possibilities? which gives rise to masculine and feminine forms through a process of mutual divergence and encroachment. Both sexes bear ?the possible of the other,? and neither represents the first or generic for…Read more
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    The Gift of the Other brings together a philosophical analysis of time, embodiment, and ethical responsibility with a feminist critique of the way women’s reproductive capacity has been theorized and represented in Western culture. Author Lisa Guenther develops the ethical and temporal implications of understanding birth as the gift of the Other, a gift which makes existence possible, and already orients this existence toward a radical responsibility for Others. Through an engagement with the wo…Read more
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    Shame and the temporality of social life
    Continental Philosophy Review 44 (1): 23-39. 2011.
    Shame is notoriously ambivalent. On one hand, it operates as a mechanism of normalization and social exclusion, installing or reinforcing patterns of silence and invisibility; on the other hand, the capacity for shame may be indispensible for ethical life insofar as it attests to the subject’s constitutive relationality and its openness to the provocation of others. Sartre, Levinas and Beauvoir each offer phenomenological analyses of shame in which its basic structure emerges as a feeling of bei…Read more
  •  49
    In his 1934 essay, “Reflections on the Philosophy of Hitlerism,” Levinas raises important questions about the subject’s relation to nature and to history. His account of the ethical significance of paternity, maternity, and fraternity in texts such as Totality and Infinity and Otherwise Than Being suggest powerful new ways to understand the meaning of kinship, beyond the abstractions of Western liberalism. How does this analysis of race and kinship translate into the context of the Transatlant…Read more
  •  1353
    In Otherwise than Being, Levinas writes that the alterity of the Other escapes “le flair animal,” or the animal’s sense of smell. This paper puts pressure on the strong human-animal distinction that Levinas makes by considering the possibility that, while non-human animals may not respond to the alterity of the Other in the way that Levinas describes as responsibility, animal sensibility plays a key role in a relation to Others that Levinas does not discuss at length: friendship. This approach t…Read more
  • William Desmond, Ethics and the Between (review)
    Philosophy in Review 23 96-98. 2003.
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    “Nameless Singularity”: Levinas on Individuation and Ethical Singularity
    Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (1): 167-187. 2009.
    Marion has criticized Levinas for failing to account for the individuation of the Other, thus leaving the face of the Other abstract, neutral and anonymous. I defend Levinas against this critique by distinguishing between the individuation of the subject through hypostasis and the singularization of self and Other through ethical response. An analysis of the instant in Levinas’s early and late work shows that it is possible to speak of a “nameless singularity” which does not collapse into neutra…Read more
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    In recent years, comparisons between abortion and slavery have become increasingly common in American pro-life politics. Some have compared the struggle to extinguish abortion rights to the struggle to end slavery. Others have claimed that Roe v Wade is the Dred Scott of our time. Still others have argued that abortion is worse than slavery; it is a form of genocide. This paper tracks the abortion = slavery meme from Ronald Reagan to the current personhood movement, drawing on work by Orlando Pa…Read more
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    Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives
    Minnesota University Press. 2013.
    Prolonged solitary confinement has become a widespread and standard practice in U.S. prisons—even though it consistently drives healthy prisoners insane, makes the mentally ill sicker, and, according to the testimony of prisoners, threatens to reduce life to a living death. In this profoundly important and original book, Lisa Guenther examines the death-in-life experience of solitary confinement in America from the early nineteenth century to today’s supermax prisons. Documenting how solitary co…Read more
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    Introduction: Queer, Trans, and Feminist Responses to the Prison Nation
    with Chloë Taylor
    philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 6 (1): 1-8. 2016.
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    Irigaray's early work seeks to multiply possibilities for women's self-expression by recovering a sexual difference in which male and female are neither the same nor opposites, but irreducibly different modes of embodiment. In her more recent work, however, Irigaray has emphasized the duality of the sexes at the expense of multiplicity, enshrining the heterosexual couple as the model of sexual ethics. Alison Stone's recent revision of Irigaray supplements her account of sexual duality with a the…Read more
  •  55
    Who Follows Whom? Derrida, Animals and Women
    Derrida Today 2 (2): 151-165. 2009.
    In ‘L'Animal que donc je suis’, Derrida analyzes the paradoxical use of discourses on shame and original sin to justify the human domination of other animals. In the absence of any absolute criterion for distinguishing between humans and other animals, human faultiness becomes a sign of our exclusive capacity for self-consciousness, freedom and awareness of mortality. While Derrida's argument is compelling, he neglects to explore the connection between the human domination of animals and the mal…Read more
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    Resisting Agamben: The biopolitics of shame and humiliation
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (1): 59-79. 2012.
    In Remnants of Auschwitz , Giorgio Agamben argues that the hidden structure of subjectivity is shame. In shame, I am consigned to something that cannot be assumed, such that the very thing that makes me a subject also forces me to witness my own desubjectification. Agamben’s ontological account of shame is problematic insofar as it forecloses collective responsibility and collapses the distinction between shame and humiliation. By recontextualizing three of Agamben’s sources – Primo Levi, Robert…Read more
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    Being-from-others: Reading Heidegger after Cavarero
    Hypatia 23 (1): 99-118. 2008.
    : Drawing on Adriana Cavarero's account of natality, Guenther argues that Martin Heidegger overlooks the distinct ontological and ethical significance of birth as a limit that orients one toward an other who resists appropriation, even while handing down a heritage of possibilities that one can—and must—make one's own. Guenther calls this structure of natality Being-from-others, modifying Heidegger's language of inheritance to suggest an ethical understanding of existence as the gift of the othe…Read more