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Profile: Alia Al-Saji (McGill University)
  1. Alia Al-Saji (2014). A Phenomenology of Hesitation: Interrupting Racializing Habits of Seeing. In Emily Lee (ed.), Living Alterities: Phenomenology, Embodiment, and Race. State University of New York Press. 133-172.
    This paper asks how perception becomes racializing and seeks the means for its critical interruption. My aim is not only to understand the recalcitrant and limitative temporal structure of racializing habits of seeing, but also to uncover the possibilities within perception for a critical awareness and destabilization of this structure. Reading Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in dialogue with Frantz Fanon, Iris Marion Young and race-critical feminism, I locate in hesitation the phenomenological moment where habits of seeing can be internally (...)
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  2. Alia Al-Saji (2013). Too Late: Racialized Time and the Closure of the Past. Insights 6 (5):1-13.
    In this paper, I explore some of the temporal structures of racialized experience – what I call racialized time. I draw on the Martiniquan philosopher and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, in particular his book ‘Black Skin, White Masks,’ in order to ask how racism can be understood as a social pathology which, when internalized or ‘epidermalized,’ may result in aberrations of affect, embodiment and agency that are temporally lived. In this regard, I analyze the racialized experience of coming ‘too late’ to (...)
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  3. Alia Al-Saji (2012). Creating Possibility: The Time of the Quebec Student Movement. Theory and Event 15 (3).
    Introduction: -/- Walking, illegally, down main Montreal thoroughfares with students in nightly demonstrations, with neighbors whom I barely knew before, banging pots and pans, and with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people on every 22nd of the month since March—this was unimaginable a year ago.1 Unimaginable that the collective and heterogeneous body, which is the “manif [demonstration]”, could feel so much like home, despite its internal differences. Unimaginable that this mutual dependence on one another could enable not only (...)
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  4. Alia Al-Saji (2012). When Thinking Hesitates: Philosophy as Prosthesis and Transformative Vision. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (2):351-361.
    In this essay, I draw on Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to interrogate what philosophy is and how it can continue to think. Though my answer is not reducible to the views of either philosopher, what joins them is an attempt to elaborate philosophy as a different way of seeing. In this light, I propose a view of philosophy as prosthesis—as a means and a way for seeing differently. Rather than a simple tool, philosophy as prosthesis is a transformative supplement, (...)
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  5. Alia Al-Saji (2010). Bodies and Sensings: On the Uses of Husserlian Phenomenology for Feminist Theory. Continental Philosophy Review 43 (1):13-37.
    What does Husserlian phenomenology have to offer feminist theory? More specifically, can we find resources within Husserl’s account of the living body ( Leib ) for the critical feminist project of rethinking embodiment beyond the dichotomies not only of mind/body but also of subject/object and activity/passivity? This essay begins by explicating the reasons for feminist hesitation with respect to Husserlian phenomenology. I then explore the resources that Husserl’s phenomenology of touch and his account of sensings hold for feminist theory. My (...)
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  6. Alia Al-Saji (2010). Life as Vision : Bergson and the Future of Seeing Differently. In Michael R. Kelly (ed.), Bergson and Phenomenology. Palgrave Macmillan.
  7. Alia Al-Saji (2010). The Racialization of Muslim Veils: A Philosophical Analysis. Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (8):875-902.
    This article goes behind stereotypes of Muslim veiling to ask after the representational structure underlying these images. I examine the public debate leading to the 2004 French law banning conspicuous religious signs in schools and French colonial attitudes to veiling in Algeria, in conjunction with discourses on the veil that have arisen in other western contexts. My argument is that western perceptions and representations of veiled Muslim women are not simply about Muslim women themselves. Rather than representing Muslim women, these (...)
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  8. Alia Al-Saji (2009). An Absence That Counts in the World: Merleau-Ponty’s Later Philosophy of Time in Light of Bernet’s 'Einleitung'. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 40 (2):207-227.
    This paper examines Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy of time in light of his critique and reconceptualization of Edmund Husserl’s early time-analyses. Drawing on The Visible and the Invisible and lecture courses, I elaborate Merleau-Ponty’s re-reading of Husserl’s time-analyses through the lens of Rudolf Bernet’s “Einleitung” to this work. My question is twofold: what becomes of the central Husserlian concepts of present and retention in Merleau-Ponty’s later work, and how do Husserl’s elisions, especially of the problem of forgetting, become generative moments (...)
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  9. Alia Al-Saji (2009). A Phenomenology of Critical-Ethical Vision: Merleau-Ponty, Bergson, and the Question of Seeing Differently. Chiasmi International 11:375-398.
    Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s “Eye and Mind” and Bergson’s Matière et mémoire and “La perception du changement,” I ask what resources are available in vision for interrupting objectifying habits of seeing. While both Bergson and Merleau-Ponty locate the possibility of seeing differently in the figure of the painter, I develop by means of their texts, and in dialogue with Iris Marion Young’s work, a more general phenomenology of hesitation that grounds what I am calling “critical-ethical vision.” Hesitation, I argue, stems from (...)
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  10. Alia Al-Saji (2009). Muslim Women and the Rhetoric of Freedom. In Mariana Ortega & Linda Martín Alcoff (eds.), Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader. SUNY Press.
  11. Alia Al-Saji (2009). Riassunto: Una fenomenologia della visione critico-etica. Chiasmi International 11:399-399.
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  12. Alia Al-Saji (2009). Résumé: Une phénoménologie de la vision critique-éthique. Chiasmi International 11:398-399.
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  13. Alia Al-Saji (2008). "A Past Which has Never Been Present": Bergsonian Dimensions in Merleau-Ponty's Theory of the Prepersonal. Research in Phenomenology 38 (1):41-71.
    Merleau-Ponty's reference to "a past which has never been present" at the end of "Le sentir" challenges the typical framework of the Phenomenology of Perception, with its primacy of perception and bodily field of presence. In light of this "original past," I propose a re-reading of the prepersonal as ground of perception that precedes the dichotomies of subject-object and activity-passivity. Merleau-Ponty searches in the Phenomenology for language to describe this ground, borrowing from multiple registers (notably Bergson, but also Husserl). This (...)
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  14. Alia Al-Saji (2007). The Temporality of Life: Merleau-Ponty, Bergson, and the Immemorial Past. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):177-206.
    Borrowing conceptual tools from Bergson, this essay asks after the shift in the temporality of life from Merleau-Ponty’s Phénoménologie de la perception to his later works. Although the Phénoménologie conceives life in terms of the field of presence of bodily action, later texts point to a life of invisible and immemorial dimensionality. By reconsidering Bergson, but also thereby revising his reading of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty develops a nonserial theory of time in the later works, one that acknowledges the verticality and irreducibility (...)
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  15. Alia Al-Saji (2007). The Temporality of Life. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):177-206.
    Borrowing conceptual tools from Bergson, this essay asks after the shift in the temporality of life from Merleau-Ponty’s Phénoménologie de la perception to his later works. Although the Phénoménologie conceives life in terms of the field of presence of bodily action, later texts point to a life of invisible and immemorial dimensionality. By reconsidering Bergson, but also thereby revising his reading of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty develops a nonserial theory of time in the later works, one that acknowledges the verticality and irreducibility (...)
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  16. Alia Al-Saji (2006). Vision, Mirror and Expression: The Genesis of the Ethical Body in Merleau-Ponty’s Later Works. In James Hatley, Janice McLane & Christian Diehm (eds.), Interrogating Ethics: Embodying the Good in Merleau-Ponty. Duquesne University Press.
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  17. Alia Al-Saji (2005). Abstract: The Vision in the Mirror. Chiasmi International 6:271-271.
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  18. Alia Al-Saji (2005). La Vision dans le Miroir. Chiasmi International 6:253-271.
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  19. Alia Al-Saji (2005). riassunto: La visione nello specchio. Chiasmi International 6:272-272.
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  20. Alia Al-Saji (2005). Review of Iris Marion Young, On Female Body Experience: &Quot;throwing Like a Girl" and Other Essays. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (10).
  21. Alia Al-Saji (2004). Leonard Lawlor, Thinking Through French Philosophy: The Being of the Question. [REVIEW] Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 14 (2):134-140.
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  22. Alia Al-Saji (2004). The Memory of Another Past: Bergson, Deleuze and a New Theory of Time. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 37 (2):203-239.
    Through the philosophies of Bergson and Deleuze, my paper explores a different theory of time. I reconstitute Deleuze’s paradoxes of the past in Difference and Repetition and Bergsonism to reveal a theory of time in which the relation between past and present is one of coexistence rather than succession. The theory of memory implied here is a non-representational one. To elaborate this theory, I ask: what is the role of the “virtual image” in Bergson’s Matter and Memory? Far from representing (...)
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  23. Alia Al-Saji (2001). Merleau-Ponty and Bergson: Bodies of Expression and Temporalities in the Flesh. Philosophy Today 45 (5):110-123.
  24. Alia Al-Saji (2000). The Site of Affect in Husserl’s Phenomenology: Sensations and the Constitution of the Lived Body. Philosophy Today 44 (Supplement):51-59.
    To discover affects within Husserl’s texts designates a difficult investigation; it points to a theme of which these texts were forced to speak, even as they were explicitly speaking of regional ontologies and the foundations of sciences. For we may at first wonder: where can affection find a positive role in the rigor of a pure philosophy that seeks to account for its phenomena from within the immanence of consciousness? Does this not mean that the very passivity and foreignness of (...)
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