Current Students | Philosophy | SIU

Southern Illinois University



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Current Students

In an effort to keep this page from becoming ungainly, the webmaster has decided to confine it to active students. There are several other students presently working outside the department on their dissertations. Anyone who is interested in knowing more about them and their endeavors, feel free to contact the Office Support Specialist.

Office hours can be viewed HERE.

Eric Bruce

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Kevin Cales

B.S. - Radford University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

As of now, Kevin’s primary interests are phenomenology, hermeneutics, philosophy of religion, Gadamer, Plato, and those who are referred to as the Pre-Socratics. To be candid, Kevin is trying to find his way about the world, and has been for as long as he has been able. He may not have many convictions, but he is convinced that life leads one to philosophy. He shares Gadamer's conviction that, “… Philosophy is a human experience that remains the same and that characterizes the human being as such, and that there is no progress in it, but only participation” (Hans Georg Gadamer. 1986. The idea of the good in Platonic-Aristotelian philosophy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

John Cohan

B.A. - Grand Valley State University
M.Phil - Fudan University

Aaron Darrisaw

B.A. - Georgia Southern University
M.A. - Reformed Theological Seminary

My central area of research is in 20th century French thought; especially the philosophies of Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy. I'm interested in developing a theory of political subjectivity, drawing upon the insights of these thinkers. 

I have additional research interests in Critical Theory (esp. Adorno) and Marxist theory.

David Denenny

B.A. - Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Matthew Donnelly

B.A. - University of Notre Dame
M.A. - Boston College

Lois Eldrige

A.A. - Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA
B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Andrew Gillespie

B.A. - McKendree University - Lebanon, IL
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Areas of Specialization: Africana Philosophy, Philosophy of Economics, Social and Political Philosophy

Areas of Competence: Applied and Theoretical Ethics, Logic, Ancient Greek and Roman Culture and Philosophy, American Pragmatism, Critical Theory

David Gray

B.S. - Northern Illinois University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My current interests are in phenomenology, regarding time (Husserl) and persons and emotions (Scheler). I am especially interested in how these intertwine in personal deeds, and the resulting symbolic nature of deeds.

AOS: Scheler, Kant

AOC: Early modern philosophy, early 20th century phenomenology, American pragmatism, ancient Chinese philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, and Philosophy of Time.

Emily Humbert

B.A. - Sacred Heart University
MAT - Sacred Heart University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Areas of study: American Pragmatism, Philosophy of Race, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Education

Dissertation: Canine Training Programs in Prisons as a Pragmatic Approach to Ethics

Micah Klareich

B.A. - Pitzer College (Honors Philosophy and Media Studies)
M.A. - University of Copenhagen (Philosophy with Specialization in Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind)

Areas of Specialization:
  • Phenomenology and Existentialism (esp. Nietzsche, Husserl, and Scheler)
  • Post-Enlightenment (German Idealism, Critical Theory, Post-Structuralism)
  • Cultural and Historical Sociology
  • Philosophy of Religion and Spiritual Philosophy
  • Value Ethics and Ethical Personalism
  • Transpersonal Theory and Participatory Philosophy

Andrii Leonov

B.A. — Oles Honchar Dnipro National University (Dnipro, Ukraine)
M.A. — Oles Honchar Dnipro National University (Dnipro, Ukraine)

For now, my philosophical interests include philosophy of mind, phenomenology, Descartes’ philosophy, as well as various philosophical translation issues.

Donnie McMann

B.A. - University of California Riverside
M.A. - Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Areas of Specialization: Kristeva, French Feminist Theory, Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, Marxism, Critical Theory, Queer Theory, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Philosophy of Psychology, Cats, Psychopathology, Addiction,Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression/Melancholia.

Areas of Competency: Buddhism, Taoism (esp. Chuang Tzu), Hinduism, Philosophy of Mind, German Idealism, History of Continental Philosophy, History of Analytic Philosophy, and Applied Ethics.

I am working at the intersections of (generative) phenomenology and psychoanalysis through the work of Julia Kristeva.
Broadly speaking my current projects are oriented around an attempt to bring the person's symbolic world and lived experience back into our understanding of issues in mental health/illness, now as the necessary starting point for psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. This fits into an emerging critical theory of the development and significance of contemporary psychopathology, recognizing both its tragic missteps in and its contributions to helping those suffering within issues of mental health, be it neurosis or psychosis. I find that a key factor in understanding these issues is affective resonance, and the ability to bring something from one's abyss up into the light of representation.

Les Murray

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My interests in Philosophy currently include Ancient Philosophy, the History of Philosophy (especially the History of the Philosophy of Science, Math, and Medicine), Philosophy of Science, Environmental Philosophy (especially Environmental Ethics), Philosophy of Economics (especially related to sustainability), Metaphysics, Asian Philosophy, and Pragmatism. I plan to practice philosophy, grow as a person, and exchange Philosophic ideas with other curious souls.

Robert Robbins

B.A. - The Catholic University of America (Philosophy)

I am open to a broad area of philosophical interests and experiences, but I do have an interest in aesthetics, particularly in studying justifications for objective values of the beautiful in literary and musical art.

I am a husband, father of four, and practicing catholic, relationships which form and inform my philosophical understanding and worldview. I am also an avid though amateurish practicing classical guitarist. And I have even been known to jot down a line or two of verse once in a while.

Emilia Russo

B.A. - St. John's University, Queens, NY
M.A. - SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY

Ebraheem Safabakhsh

B.A. - University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
M.A. - University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
M.A. - New School University, New York, NY

For someone who is fascinated with the process more than achieving the outcome, it is quite hard to determine in a definite way the area of his studies. I am even scared of being determinate in this regard due to the possible losing of the chance for being open to other sources of philosophical inspiration. Having said this, I must say that my philosophical upbringing has been in phenomenology, mainly Husserl’s and Heidegger’s, and secondly, Merleau-Ponty’s and Levinas’s. Delving into the French school of phenomenology began to turn my attention to the way French philosophers have integrated Hegel’s phenomenology into the Husserlian and Heideggerian modes of phenomenology. The project, therefore, arising from my studies in New School for Social Research is an attempt to get to the distinctive character of French phenomenology due to its neighboring with the then prevalent Hegelianism of figures like Kojѐve, Koyre, Wahl and Hyppolite. Finally, the last strike in my path since I started my studies at Southern Illinois University has been the encounter with almost neglected philosophy of Josiah Royce, a strike so unexpected and unprecedented that I should admit that his account of time is way more penetrative and insightful than that of Husserl’s or Heidegger’s.

Joseph Smith

B.A. - Kutztown University
M.A. - Union Theological Seminary

Jessica Soester

B.A. - Texas A & M University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Social and political philosophy, philosophy of economics, phenomenology, Classical American Pragmatism. My current research is on Marx's concept of "freedom," particularly focusing on the embodied and social dimension of freedom. Other research interests include the intersection of philosophy and geography (the production of space, the right to the city), education and pedagogy, participatory aspects of freedom, the capabilities approach.

Scott Sparrow

B.A. - Salisbury University - Salisbury, MD
M.A. - Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

My research focuses on German Idealism (especially Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit), the history of ethical thought, and contemporary work concerning trust. Of particular concern to me is the possibility of an ethics informed by Hegel's theory of recognition and the critiques it levels against other forms of ethical and moral philosophy. In line with that concern, I am about to embark on a dissertation entitled "Absolute Dependence and Trust: How the Self achieves Moral Status." Also of notable interest to me are Ancient Skepticism, Early Modern rationalist metaphysics, Social Contract theory, and theories of perception.

Amy Stewart

B.S. - Psychology, Kennesaw State University
M.A. - Gender/Cultural Studies, Simmons College

Amy Stewart is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy as well as an instructor for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she specializes in continental feminist philosophy, psychoanalysis, and philosophies of gender, race, and sexuality. Her dissertation project, which engages and integrates Lacanian and Kristevan psychoanalysis, explores the imaginative albeit unsettled embodiment of transgender liminality in order to cultivate a queer ethics of intimate revolt. Amy regularly teaches courses on gender and sexuality studies and has offered a special topics course on transgender histories, identities, and politics; she has also taught courses on queer studies, critical theory, and existential philosophy. As an active interdisciplinary scholar, Amy has organized academic conferences on feminism and philosophy, developed curriculum for gender studies programs and anti-racism civic engagement projects, indexed manuscripts on psychoanalysis and literature, and served on numerous committees advancing progressive LGBTQ campus policies. At Simmons College, where she completed her M.A. in Gender/Cultural Studies, she was appointed as the first Hazel Dick Leonard Research Fellow on Gender. Amy’s research has been presented at over 30 national and international conferences and her writings appear in Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, as well as the volume New Forms of Revolt: Essays on Kristeva’s Intimate Politics.

Ethan Traman

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

I am primarily interested in the faculties and reflection, imagination, and historical sensitivity. Academically, my interests range from virtue ethics to mysticism, both metaphysical and spiritual in the latter case.

Matthew Williams-Wyant

B.S. - Towson University
M.A. - American University

Areas of Research: Phenomenology, Existentialism, Indian Buddhism and Classical Chinese Philosophy. My primary focus within these traditions centers on epistemology, specifically the generation of meaning and the question of evidence. I am currently working on my dissertation on the role of adversity and cliché in the generation of sense and meaning in the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. Additional interests include the role of praxis and self-cultivation in one's engagement with philosophy and in the world. To what extent is the study of philosophy a means of learning how to breathe?