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The following is a collection of my latest and most distinctive writing projects. For a full list of publications, see my CV. I hope you enjoy my work and I invite you to contact me with any questions.


Gloria Anzaldúa’s Decolonial Aesthetics: On Silence and Bearing Witness

This article is one in a series of attempts on my part to think (from) the in-between of traditionally juxtaposed claims of voice versus silence. It takes seriously both claims that voice is lived as liberatory by many, on the one hand, and that the deployment of voice may not only reify colonial power dynamics that continue to oppress many, but also that words may be inadequate to convey or remember the humiliation, pain, and systematic degradation of trauma and violence, on the other. Thus situated, this paper turns to silence to locate resources for the renewal of sense. Specifically, I turn to Gloria Anzaldúa’s iterations of the myth of la Llorona in “My Black Angelos” and Prietita and the Ghost Woman and propose that her deployment of silences is such that the past is remembered in its absence, as loss. As such, I suggest, the deployment of deep silences is key to a decolonizing aesthetics; it bears witness to experiences of coloniality by upholding, rather than eliding, opacity, thus inaugurating decolonizing sensibilities attuned to silences rather than speech and transparency.

Full Citation: “Gloria Anzaldúa’s Decolonial Aesthetics: On Silence and Bearing Witness,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 34(3), 2020, pp. 323-338.

Artwork by Tracey-Moffatt


Questions of Silence: On the Emancipatory Limits of Voice and the Coloniality of Silence

This article begins at a (historical) crossroads; it straddles the difficult ground between the recent public outcry against sexual violence (a protest that, as championed by the #MeToo movement, seeks to break the "culture of silence" surrounding sexual violence) and concerns about the coloniality of voice made visible by the recent decolonial turn within feminist theory (Ruiz 2006; Lugones 2007; Lugones 2010; Veronelli 2016). Wary of concepts such as "visibility" or "transparency"-principles that continue to inform the call to "break the silence" by "speaking up" central to Western liberatory movements-in this article, I return to silence, laying the groundwork for the exploration of what a revised concept of silence could mean for the development of practices of cross-cultural communication that do not play into coloniality. 

An earlier version of this article won the Iris Marion Young Award at the Society for Phenomenological and Existential Philosophy in 2018. 

Full Citation: “Questions of Silence: On the Emancipatory Limits of Voice and the Coloniality of Silence,” Hypatia’s Special Issue: “Indigenizing and Decolonizing Feminist Philosophy,” 2019.


Editors Introduction Reflections on the First Issue of Puncta: Journal of Critical Phenomenology

In 2016, I co-founded a peer-review, open-access journal, Puncta: Journal of Critical Phenomenology. In 2018, we published our inaugural issue. In the editors' introduction I co-authored with my colleagues, we reflect on the burgeoning field of critical phenomenology. 

The institution of official platforms that call for, collect, and publish works in burgeoning fields of inquiry is a crucial step in the legitimization and promotion of research in those areas. To this day there is not a platform explicitly devoted to the publication of pieces that engage the critical turn in phenomenology. We decided to found what we are now proud to call Puncta: Journal of Critical Phenomenology. The journey of its founding and the publication of its first issue required numerous conversations about the scope of the journal, its target audience, the kinds of publications that we hoped to solicit, and, perhaps most importantly, what we took "critical phenomenology" to be and to be doing. This introduction explores these issues. 

Full Citation: “Editors’ Introduction.” Authored with Devin Fitzpatrick, Shannon Hayes, Sarah McLay, Kaja Rathe Jennsen, and Amie Zimmer. Puncta: Journal of Critical Phenomenology 1, 2018, pp. 1-7.


On ne naît pas femme : on le devient – The Life of a Sentence

This collection of essays takes up the most famous feminist sentence ever written, Simone de Beauvoir's "On ne na t pas femme: on le devient," finding in it a flashpoint that galvanizes feminist thinking and action in multiple dimensions. Since its publication, the sentence has inspired feminist thinking and action in many different cultural and linguistic contexts. Two entangled controversies emerge in the life of this sentence: a controversy over the practice of translation and a controversy over the nature and status of sexual difference. Variously translated into English as "One is not born, but rather becomes a woman" (Parshley, 1953), "one is not born but rather becomes woman" (Borde and Malovany-Chevallier, 2010), and "women are made, not born" (in popular parlance), the conflict over the translation crystallizes the feminist debate over the possibilities and limitations of social construction as a theory of sexual difference. When Sheila Malovany-Chevallier and Constance Borde (contributors to this volume), translated Le Deuxi me Sexe into English in 2010, their decision to alter the translation of the famous sentence by omitting the "a" ignited debate that has not yet exhausted itself. The controversy over the English translation has opened a conversation about translation practices and their relation to meaning more generally, and broadens, in this volume, into an examination of the life of Beauvoir's key sentence in other languages and political and cultural contexts as well. The philosophers, translators, literary scholars and historian who author these essays take decidedly different positions on the meaning of the sentence in French, and thus on its correct translation in a variety of languages--but also on the meaning and salience of the question of sexual difference as it travels between languages, cultures, and political worlds.

Full citation: On ne naît pas femme : on le devient – The Life of a Sentence, edited with Bonnie Mann, Oxford University Press (2017).


Poietic Transpatiality: Merleau-Ponty, Normativity, and the Latent Sens of Nature

In this paper, I attend to the ontological shift in Merleau-Ponty’s later writing and suggest that this conceptual turn opens the space for questions of the latent sense of the sensible foreclosed by dualist accounts and propositional theories of meaning. By attending to the Nature Lectures, I claim that there is a sens [meaning and orientation] of nature whose regulatory principle ought to be found in nature itself. This is to say that there is a normativity of nature that, albeit not exclusive of sociocultural-linguistic norms, is irreducible to them. As I argue, this normativity is a “transspatializing and transtemporalizing”: it transverses its carnal manifestations, thereby inaugurating and becoming traceable within their materialization while remaining invisible in its excess or poietic renewing. I conclude by attending to the question of the “latent sense” of nature, suggesting that this sense is not conceptual or propositional, but intuitive as in the sense of right and left, a sense that is distributed across spatio-temporal individuals and emerges via the play of yet-to-be-determined incarnate manifestation.

In 2017, this article won the MC Dillon prize at the International Melreau-Ponty Circle for best submission by a graduate student. 

Full Citation:  “Poietic Transspatiality: Merleau-Ponty, Normativity, and the Latent Sens of Nature,” Chiasmi International 20, 2018, pp. 385-99.

Image by Fabrizio Verrecchia

The Immemorial Time of Gender: Merleau-Ponty's Polymorphic Matrix of Original Past

In this paper, I tend to the concept of "immemorial past" and argue that Maurice Merleau-Ponty's turn in The Visible and the Invisible--a turn toward the conceptualization of time as chiasm and an ontology of the invisible--provides a rich resource for theorizing sexual difference. More precisely, I argue that acknowledging the different kind of temporality of life that the immemorial institutes--a temporality that is generative of meaning and signification--invites us to investigate gender's "immemorial past." Shifting attention from the sedimentation and presence of gender habits to the fecund lack that grounds such sedimentation allows to account for the structure that makes gender production, institution, and differing possible in the first place. Such a structure is a "fecund negativity," a polymorphous field or depth, that points to the inherent instability and multiplicity of gender, to the fact that gender formation can be traced back to a plural and ambiguous ground that comes to expression in cultural-historical-linguistic manifestations.

In 2015, this article won prizes at the International Melreau-Ponty Circle and the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy for best submission by a graduate student. 

Full Citation: “The Immemorial Time of Gender: Merleau-Ponty’s Polymorphic Matrix of Original Past,” Chiasmi International 18, 2017, pp. 281-92.


An-Archic Past: Rethinking Negativity with Bergson

Thanks to the revival in Bergson’s scholarship prompted by Gilles Deleuze’s Bergsonism, it is widely recognized that Bergsonism challenges the metaphysics of presence. Less attention, however, has been devoted to the status of negation or negativity in Bergson’s thought. Differently from Deleuze, I argue that Bergson’s claim that memory and perception, past and present, differ in kind does not call for the erasure of the negative but rather for the radical reconceptualization of negation in temporal terms. Thinking negation temporally allows Bergson to open the space for conceptualizing existence beyond presence, for developing an account of the paradoxical nature of the past. With an insight that anticipates Derrida’s thinking, Bergson tells us that the past is neither “there” nor “not-there,” neither a presence nor an absence.

In 2016, this article won a prize at the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy for best submission by a graduate student. 

Full Citation: “An-Archic Past: Rethinking Negativity with Bergson,” Symposium 21(2), 2017, pp. 230-49.

Research: Work
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