Research Overview

My research in social and political philosophy and public policy concentrates on feminism and race in three different branches of inquiry: philosophical conceptions of solidarity, ethics of refugees and migration, and philosophy of liberation. I approach all three through methodologies informed by classical Deweyian pragmatism, feminist science studies, and analytical feminist materialism. I have facility with three dominant philosophical traditions, moving deftly across analytic, continental, and pragmatist modes of inquiry in order to build a comprehensive research profile. Moreover, I draw on interdisciplinary work in political science, women’s and gender studies, critical race theory, and public policy.

Philosophy of Solidarity: My leading project, currently under way, involves development of a monograph on philosophical conceptions of solidarity arising out of anti-racist, feminist, and pro-indigenous liberatory responses to oppression. In the project I advance a theory of “liberatory solidarity as relational” that both complements and differs from moral and political conceptions. Whereas conventional research emphasizes solidarity as a function of identity and/or shared interest, emancipatory movements draw on other notions and strategies dependent on how individuals and groups conceive of and prioritize activities of relation and sustained relationships. Thus, I specify root concepts of “relation” and “relational solidarity” that cohere with liberatory priorities and interests, not wholly dependent on matters of identity and interest. The text, fully drafted, engages with audiences in philosophy, critical race theory, analytical philosophy of race, and feminist philosophy. I intend to circulate the prospectus to potential publishers within the coming year.

Public Policy, Ethics, Refugees, and Migration: I apply classical and contemporary moral theory to matters of public policy and administrative treatment of refugees and migrants. My research in this area highlights the conceptual and practical gaps between the national and international imperatives to offer migrants and refugees sanctuary (i.e. in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights), and the actual treatment of such persons in real-life conditions, typically beholden to the conduct of government officials and sub-contractors. While nation-states and administrative agencies generally observe broad moral, political, and legal commissions to provide refuge and protect the lives of migrants, these obligations rarely, or only partially operate at the immediate level wherein agents, officers, and legal personnel typically, arbitrarily, treat refugees and migrants quite poorly. I bridge the macro-level imperatives and micro-level political expediency by theorizing moral criteria and practical guidelines to help guide agency-level and activist-level interventions.

Philosophy of Liberation: In a series of essays currently undergoing peer review and accepted for conferences, I advance the argument that philosophy of liberation operates as a branch of thought that both problematizes and complements scholarly discourses in ethics, political philosophy, and epistemology. In the interests of feminism, anti-racism, and indigeneity, I seek to expand philosophy of liberation by putting the work of some of its core proponents in conversation with fields of distributive justice, just war theory, virtue theory, and value theory. In doing so, I aim to position liberatory philosophy as a pivotal resource in dismantling patterned violence. Following Enrique Dussel, I specify the priority of liberation as respect for alterity, and the twofold objectives of liberation to include challenging the alleged legitimacy of claims to rule, and of demanding that dominant regimes either surrender or serve to ameliorate systematic suffering. As moral and political philosophy aim to obtain models of ethical practices and the scope institutional powers, liberatory thought places a check on the alleged legitimacy of normative justifications.