Workshop Participants – Biographies

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Geoff Adelsberg

Geoff Adelsberg is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He researches Jewish experiences of anti-Semitism and their intersections with European racism and colonialism. His dissertation takes up his familial lineages of persecution in the Holocaust and the subsequent abuse and racism among members of his family who survived as an impetus toward a notion of reparative criminal justice capable of breaking cycles of violence among the victimized. He has co-edited and contributed a chapter to Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration (Fordham U.P., 2015).

Marie-Anne Casselot

Marie-Anne Casselot is a Graduate student at Université Laval specializing in feminist philosophy and feminist phenomenology. She works on embodiment in order to connect it with space and nature, especially within the ecofeminist and new materialist canon. She aims to reactualize the political potential of ecofeminism for a feminist investigation of nature by presenting a non-dichotomized conception of nature that takes into account materialist feminist insights on the controversial notion of essentialism. Furthermore, she wants to contribute to new understandings of nature as a complex entity involving a shared materiality between humans, environmental others and non-living beings. Moreover, she wants to connect what is common – materiality – to differences such as gender, race, sexualities, species, geographical location and so on. She believes we misunderstand ecofeminism because we have not reckoned with its paradoxical and diverse positions with respect to gender essentialism. Recently, she has been interested in connecting ecofeminism to new materialism, especially looking at their commonalities and their tensions. Broadly, her other philosophical interests are ancient philosophy, environmental philosophy, 20th century phenomenology and existentialism.

Alice Everly

Alice Everly is a PhD student in Philosophy at McGill University. She received her MA in Philosophy from the University of Memphis in 2013 and her BA in Political Theory from Marlboro College in 2008. Her areas of research include the history and philosophy of biology, historical and contemporary vitalism and materialism, and philosophy of sociology and anthropology. Her current focus is on the articulation of a concept of life which both differentiates it from matter and associates it with movements of cooperation and resistance. In this articulation, she engages with historical vitalisms, including those of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson, and Jacob, with recent French theory including Canguilhem and Simondon, and also (in a more critical mode) with new materialism and new materialist appropriations of Bergson and Deleuze. With regard to the latter movement, she argues that recent attempts to theorize the vitality of matter by eliding it with life tend to efface the peculiar qualities and capacities, both ontological and ethical, that are embodied by living beings alone.

Stephanie Latella

Stephanie Latella is a doctoral student in Social and Political Thought at York University. Her academic background includes a B.A. in Philosophy from McGill and a M.A. in Women and Gender Studies from University of Toronto. Drawing from the fields of queer theory, settler colonial studies, and cultural studies, her research explores the sexual politics of nationalism in Quebec, asking how the state reproduces the nation through the biopolitical management of the bodies and lives of immigrants, and the containment and disenfranchisement of First Nations lives and legacies. Her current work traces investigates the FLQ crisis, a series of attacks perpetrated by a militant sovereigntist group on the Montreal area, and met with the only peacetime deployment of the War Measures Act in Canadian history. After the FLQ crisis, Québecois nationalism shifted from fringe-based tactics of resistance to the English Canadian majority, to a mainstream campaign to draft laws shaping the lives of immigrant families in the image of the Québecois nation. The FLQ crisis unearths the repressive capacities of settler colonial nationalisms in Quebec and Canada, despite contemporary discourses of the benevolent secular state.

Elisabeth Paquette

Elisabeth Paquette is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at York University, Toronto. Her research includes feminist philosophy, and social and political philosophy. Her current research includes examinations of embodiment, freedom, and responsibility for Simone de Beauvoir, feminist and lesbian constructions of subjectivity, and an account of environmental mourning. Her dissertation is a feminist analysis of Alain Badiou’s concept of sexual difference through the French feminist projects of Luce Irigaray, Monique Wittig, and Julia Kristeva. She has also begun engaging with the work of Sylvia Wynter, drawing in particular on her concept of humanism and the poetic. She has recently translated Simona de Simoni’s “The Everyday Life” for Viewpoint Magazine and is currently co-editing a special issue on critical engagements with Alain Badiou through feminist, decolonial, and critical race theory for Philosophy Today.

Andrea J. Pitts

Andrea J. Pitts is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests include philosophy of race and gender, social epistemology, biomedical ethics, and Latin American social and political thought, esp. 20th century Mexican philosophy. Her publications appear in the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Medicine, the Inter-American Journal of Philosophy, the APA Newsletter on Hispanic and Latino Issues in Philosophy, and the Radical Philosophy Review. She has also co-edited a special issue of the Inter-American Journal of Philosophy on the relationship between Latin American philosophy and U.S. Latina/o thought, and she is currently co-editing a volume on the reception of the work of Henri Bergson in decolonial thought, feminism, and critical race studies for SUNY Press.

Muhammad Velji

Muhammad Velji began his academic career at the University of Toronto, studying life sciences and bioethics. While doing his masters at Carleton University, he began to focus more on political philosophy and secularism. Although he began his PhD at the University of South Florida using continental philosophy to think through problems of political theology and multiculturalism, he found his interests crossing boundaries into analytical political philosophy and political theory. After transferring to McGill University, Muhammad now focuses on the philosophical implications of the Islamic headscarf. This includes thinking through the political/legal dimensions of secularism, religious accommodations in the rule of law, feminist conceptions of agency and rethinking religion as traditions and embodied practices rather than just a set of cognitive beliefs, authorities and laws. More generally, he is also interested in Ancient political theory, particularly Aristotle, the late, “care of the self” philosophy of Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, embodiment, philosophic anthropology and has also recently come full circle back to biology. Specifically, looking at new movements in the philosophy of biology that can help political theory overcome the nature/culture dichotomy. He has a forthcoming publication, “Change Your Look, Change Your Luck: Religious Self-Transformation and Brute Luck Egalitarianism” in the journal Res Philosophica.

Jasmine Wallace

Jasmine Wallace is a second year graduate assistant at Villanova University. She received her Master’s from the University of Memphis in 2013 and her Bachelor’s from Salisbury University in 2010. Her areas of research include decolonial philosophy, queer theory, philosophy of political strategy and prison theory. She is also influenced by aesthetics and frequently incorporates Latin American fiction into her work concerning testimony and accounts of lost histories. Her dissertation will focus on political strategies of social codes. She intends to offer a strategy of resistance and a politics of solidarity that utilize social identity markers against themselves to disrupt processes of socio-political reification. She has also volunteered in prisons for the past eight years. This work has ranged from tutoring to facilitating reading groups on a variety of philosophical themes. Her work in prisons greatly influences her philosophical and political work and provides a praxiological perspective from which she approaches, most especially, themes in decolonial theory.

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