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Editorial Experience

In 2016, a few colleagues and I co-founded a peer review, open-access journal, Puncta: Journal of Critical Phenomenology. I here cite from our introduction:

"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. By founding this journal, we endorse and promote a specific kind of phenomenological inquiry or method: a method already being deployed by contemporary feminist thinkers like Lisa Guenther and Mariana Ortega. These scholars, inspired by the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Frantz Fanon, and Gloria Anzaldúa among others, conceive of critical phenomenology as a process of inquiry that, grounded in the specificity of the phenomenon it seeks to describe, remains “on its way”—in terms of both its description of the phenomenon and its methodological presuppositions.

Given our indebtedness to feminist phenomenology and feminist phenomenologists, the reflection on the resonances between feminist phenomenology and critical phenomenology is essential to the delineation of the contours of the field of critical phenomenology. Our designation of the term critical phenomenology is not meant to mark a limit or an inadequacy in what is now widely recognized and accepted as feminist phenomenology proper, but rather, to suggest that feminist phenomenology and philosophies of social and political critique are already inherently implicated with one another. Critical phenomenology understands that feminist phenomenology exists within broader structures of power that shape, condition, and determine experience. And all critical phenomenology is inherently—if not explicitly—feminist insofar as it attends to experiences of difference and differences in experience. The founding of Puncta is motivated by the hope that having a specific outlet for critical phenomenology will help to establish it as its own field, and to invite scholars to engage their phenomenological work in a way that attends to those differences."

Editorial Experience: Work

Inaugural Issue


In 2018, Puncta published its inaugural issue featuring four invited submissions by Lisa Guenther, Kym Maclaren, Bonnie Mann, and Gayle Salamon, all of whom respond to the questions motivating our inaugural issue, What is Critical Phenomenology? Both Salamon and Maclaren offer a response to the question “What is critical phenomenology?” by exploring the productive relationship between critical theory and phenomenology. Salamon does this by tracing the history of the term critical phenomenology. Maclaren further explores the productive relationship between critical theory and phenomenology en route to her analysis of intimacy. Focusing on the phenomena of shame and long-term solitary confinement, Mann and Guenther take up that question by performing the work of critical phenomenology. Mann also offers suggestions regarding critical or, as she calls it, feminist phenomenology’s relation to the tradition—both of classical phenomenology and feminist philosophy. Guenther shows how the work of critical phenomenology is already at play in the practices of resistance among prisoners in the Security Housing Unit of Pelican Bay State Prison in California.

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