2017 Workshop

The focus of the Decolonial Feminist Politics Workshop for the summer of 2017 was the work of Dr. Sara Ahmed.

Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer, scholar, and activist. She is the author of several books including: Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism (1998); Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000); The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004); Willful Subjects; On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012); The Promise of Happiness (2010); and Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Object, Others (2006). Her most recent text, Living Feminist Life, will be published in early 2017. You can access her blog feminist killjoys here.

Date and Location

The workshop took place over 4 days in the month of May: Tuesday, May 16th – Friday, May 19th 2017 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Center City.

Workshop Participants


Kaitlyn Conners is a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Villanova University. Her research interests include film theory, feminist theory and comedy and humor studies. Her current research focuses on affective responses to dark humor in collective contexts and comedy as political and feminist praxis.

Stephanie Latella is a doctoral student in Social and Political Thought at York University in Toronto, Canada. She holds a BA in Philosophy from McGill University and a MA in Women and Gender Studies from University of Toronto. Her current research is situated in the fields of white settler colonial studies and queer of colour critique. She is is interested in the sexual politics of nationalism in Quebec and Canada, with a particular focus on commemorations of the 1970 October Crisis.

Theodra Bane is a PhD student at Villanova University. She received a BA in French and Philosophy from the University of Dayton and an MA in Philosophy from The New School for Social Research. Her research is primarily in the philosophy of social justice: decolonial theory, intersectional feminisms, Marxism, and the philosophy of race.

Ashley Williams is a trans non-binary femme from Fayetteville, NC. As a Black Lives Matter organizer, Ashley has educated the NC community about state-sanctioned violence as it relates to trans and queer people of color. Since 2013, this work has included leading rapid response/ guerilla actions, building solidarity and coalitions across differences, developing press strategies, designing campaigns, educating and mobilizing people on social media, and training other organizers. As campaign manager for a NC Representative, Ashley has also managed donations and calendars, facilitated training for volunteers and interns, supervised all campaign communications, conducted research, and planned and implemented campaign strategies. Ashley is a 2016 Human Rights Advocacy Fellow in Residence and Ignite NC Fellow (working against voter suppression), and won the Cyrus M. Johnson Award for Peace and Social Justice in 2014 and the Charlotte Pride Young Catalyst Award in 2016. They hold a master’s in Ethics and Applied Philosophy and a bachelor’s in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Ashley is also a dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher.

Claire A. Lockard is a graduate student pursuing a PhD at Loyola University Chicago. She is most interested in questions about whiteness and white privilege – her recent paper in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly examines the ways that white people’s confessions of racism reinforce unconscious habits of white privilege. She is also interested in feminist philosophy of the body (specifically, in the connections between feminist phenomenological accounts of pregnant and transgender embodiment). She has also worked on a project examining the underrepresentation of female-identified students in philosophy. She can be reached at clockard@luc.edu.

Claire Schuch received her PhD in Geography and Urban Regional Analysis at UNC Charlotte and is currently a Receptivity, Inclusion and Community Engagement post-doctoral fellow at the same institution. Her research interests include immigration, race/ethnicity, community health, and urban inequalities. As a community-engaged researcher, she has worked closely with Latino immigrants, Carolinas Healthcare System, the Latin American Coalition, and the Levine Museum of the New South on projects to enhance access and opportunities for immigrants and promote a more inclusive Charlotte. Informed by feminist, Marxist, post-colonial and critical race theories, she predominantly uses qualitative and participatory methodologies. An immigrant to the US herself, Claire has lived in England, the Netherlands, Singapore and Chile.

Chris Jingchao Ma is a doctoral student in the department of philosophy at Villanova University. She is interested in feminist philosophy and queer theory, and her dissertation brings psychoanalysis and phenomenology together to offer a new understanding of gender, sexuality, and the racialized and gendered body.

Shannon Sullivan is Professor of Philosophy and Health Psychology and Chair of Philosophy at UNC Charlotte.  She works in the intersections of critical philosophy of race, feminist philosophy, continental philosophy, and American pragmatism.  Her most recent books include Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism (SUNY Press, 2014), The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression (Oxford UP, 2015), and Feminist Interpretations of William James, co-edited with Erin C. Tarver (Penn State Press, 2015).

Andrea Pitts is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Their research interests include social epistemology, philosophy of race and gender, Latin American and U.S. Latina/o philosophy, and philosophy of medicine. Their publications appear in Hypatia, Radical Philosophy Review, and Inter-American Journal of Philosophy. Andrea is also currently co-editing two forthcoming volumes: one on the reception of the work of Henri Bergson in decolonial thought and critical race studies, and a volume on contemporary scholarship in U.S. Latina and Latin American feminist philosophy.

Janaka B. Lewis, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of English at UNC Charlotte, affiliated with Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies.  She teaches and researches 19th and 20th century African American women’s writing about freedom and Black girlhood studies.  She is the author of Black Women’s Narrative of Freedom (McFarland Press, forthcoming) and two children’s books.

Tiffany N. Tsantsoulas is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University. Her research interests are in continental feminist ontologies of the body, deconstruction, and phenomenology. She is currently working on theories of resistance and new figurations of the human in decolonial, Black, and Latina feminisms.

Emily R. Douglas is a second-year PhD student at McGill University. Their research lies at the intersections of feminist philosophy with phenomenology and Foucauldian post-structuralism. At the moment, they are focused on questions about embodied agency and unconscious resistance.

Dr. Rónké A. Òké received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Spelman College, a MA in Philosophy from the University of Memphis, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Penn State University. Dr. Oke specializes in race and identity formation with a particular emphasis on transnational conceptions of Blackness, the intersection of race and gender, and multicultural social justice.  Dr. Oke joined the West Chester University community in Fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy.  She teaches courses in Ethics, Existentialism, Critical Philosophy of Race, and Africana Philosophy.  Dr. Oke’s research seeks to interrogate Western-centered appropriations of racial identity and explores the conditions for transnational claims of race and identity, the goal of which is to reconstruct a philosophical account of lived experience that does justice to the experience of race.​

Elisabeth Paquette is an instructor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Paquette specializes in feminist philosophy, queer theory, decolonial and critical race studies, social and political philosophy, and 20th century continental philosophy.  Her dissertation From Indifference to Difference critically examines theories of emancipation in the work of Sylvia Wynter and Alain Badiou. Paquette’s work on Badiou and Julia Kristeva recently was published in Badiou Studies, and she currently is working on constructions of embodiment in the feminisms of Simone de Beauvoir and Monique Wittig.

Important Links

Participants have access a dropbox folder with pdf’s of some of Ahmed’s work that I have amassed thus far. You can access it here.

A list of restaurants that are located near Center City that might be of interest to many of you will be posted in the google drive folder here.


We were fortunate enough to have been awarded a small grant from the University of North Carolina’s Chancellor’s Diversity Grant. The grant will be used to offset some of the travel costs accrued by workshop participants on a sliding scale basis.

This workshop also benefits from the support of the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Presentation Schedule

Topic/Essay Presenter
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
9:00AM – 9:20AM Land Acknowledgement and Introductions
9:30AM – 10:50 AM Queer Phenomenology, Chapter 1: Orientations Toward Objects Tiffany Tsantsoulas
11:00AM – 12:20PM Queer Phenomenology, Chapter 2: Sexual Orientation Chris Ma
Lunch 12:30PM – 1:30 PM
1:40PM – 3:00PM Queer Phenomenology, Chapter 3: The Orient and Other Others Stephanie Latella
3:10PM – 4:30PM Queer Phenomenology, Conclusion: Disorientation and Queer Objects Ashley Williams
Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
9:30AM – 10:50 AM On Being Included, Chapter 1: Institutional Life Andrea Pitts
11:00AM – 12:20PM On Being Included, Chapter 2: The Language of Diversity Claire Schuch
Lunch 12:30PM – 1:30 PM
1:40PM – 3:00PM On Being Included, Chapter 3: Equality and Performance Culture Elisabeth Paquette
3:10PM – 4:30PM On Being Included, Chapter 4: Commitment as a Non-Performative Claire Lockard
Thursday, May 18th, 2017
9:30AM – 10:50 AM On Being Included, Chapter 5: Speaking about Racism  and Conclusion: A Phenomenological Practice Janaka Lewis
11:00AM – 12:20PM Living a Feminist Life, Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2 Rónké Òké
Lunch 12:30PM – 1:30 PM
1:40PM – 3:00PM Living a Feminist Life, Chapters 3 & 4 Emily Douglas
3:10PM – 4:30PM Living a Feminist Life, Chapters 5 & 6 Shannon Sullivan
Friday, May 19th, 2017
9:30AM – 10:50 AM Living a Feminist Life, Chapters 7 & 8 Theodra Bane
11:00AM – 12:00PM Skype discussion with Dr. Ahmed
Lunch 12:00PM – 1:30 PM
1:40PM – 3:00PM Living a Feminist Life, Chapter 9 and Conclusions Kaitlyn Conners
3:00PM – 3:30PM Wrap-Up Session