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Profile: Lisa Guenther (Vanderbilt University)
  1. Lisa Guenther (2013). Fecundity and Natal Alienation. Levinas Studies 7:1-19.
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  2. Lisa Guenther (2013). How Alexis Shotwell Changed My Life. Phaenex 8 (1):247-250.
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  3. Lisa Guenther (2013). Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives. Minnesota University Press.
    Prolonged solitary confinement has become a widespread and standard practice in U.S. prisons—even though it consistently drives healthy prisoners insane, makes the mentally ill sicker, and, according to the testimony of prisoners, threatens to reduce life to a living death. In this profoundly important and original book, Lisa Guenther examines the death-in-life experience of solitary confinement in America from the early nineteenth century to today’s supermax prisons. Documenting how solitary confinement undermines prisoners’ sense of identity and their ability to understand (...)
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  4. Lisa Guenther (2012). Beyond Dehumanization: A Post-Humanist Critique of Intensive Confinement. Journal of Critical Animal Studies. Special Issue on Animals and Prisons 10 (2).
    Prisoners involved in the Attica rebellion and in the recent Georgia prison strike have protested their dehumanizing treatment as animals and as slaves. Their critique is crucial for tracing the connections between slavery, abolition, the racialization of crime, and the reinscription of racialized slavery within the US prison system. I argue that, in addition to the dehumanization of prisoners, inmates are further de-animalized when they are held in conditions of intensive confinement such as prolonged solitude or chronic overcrowding. To be (...)
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  5. Lisa Guenther (2012). Fecundity and Natal Alienation: Rethinking Kinship with Emmanuel Levinas and Orlando Patterson. Levinas Studies 7 (1):1-19.
    In his 1934 essay, “Reflections on the Philosophy of Hitlerism,” Levinas raises important questions about the subject’s relation to nature and to history. His account of the ethical significance of paternity, maternity, and fraternity in texts such as Totality and Infinity and Otherwise Than Being suggest powerful new ways to understand the meaning of kinship, beyond the abstractions of Western liberalism. How does this analysis of race and kinship translate into the context of the Transatlantic slave trade, which not only (...)
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  6. Lisa Guenther (2012). Resisting Agamben: The Biopolitics of Shame and Humiliation. Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (1):59-79.
    In Remnants of Auschwitz , Giorgio Agamben argues that the hidden structure of subjectivity is shame. In shame, I am consigned to something that cannot be assumed, such that the very thing that makes me a subject also forces me to witness my own desubjectification. Agamben’s ontological account of shame is problematic insofar as it forecloses collective responsibility and collapses the distinction between shame and humiliation. By recontextualizing three of Agamben’s sources – Primo Levi, Robert Antelme and Maurice Blanchot – (...)
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  7. Lisa Guenther (2012). The Most Dangerous Place: Pro-Life Politics and the Rhetoric of Slavery. Postmodern Culture 22 (2).
    In recent years, comparisons between abortion and slavery have become increasingly common in American pro-life politics. Some have compared the struggle to extinguish abortion rights to the struggle to end slavery. Others have claimed that Roe v Wade is the Dred Scott of our time. Still others have argued that abortion is worse than slavery; it is a form of genocide. This paper tracks the abortion = slavery meme from Ronald Reagan to the current personhood movement, drawing on work by (...)
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  8. Lisa Guenther (2011). Merleau-Ponty and the Sense of Sexual Difference. Angelaki 16 (2):19 - 33.
    While Merleau-Ponty does not theorize sexual difference at any great length, his concepts of the flesh and the institution of a sense suggest hitherto undeveloped possibilities for articulating sexual difference beyond the male?female binary. For Merleau-Ponty, flesh is a ?pregnancy of possibilities? which gives rise to masculine and feminine forms through a process of mutual divergence and encroachment. Both sexes bear ?the possible of the other,? and neither represents the first or generic form of the human; each sex bears the (...)
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  9. Lisa Guenther (2011). Shame and the Temporality of Social Life. Continental Philosophy Review 44 (1):23-39.
    Shame is notoriously ambivalent. On one hand, it operates as a mechanism of normalization and social exclusion, installing or reinforcing patterns of silence and invisibility; on the other hand, the capacity for shame may be indispensible for ethical life insofar as it attests to the subject’s constitutive relationality and its openness to the provocation of others. Sartre, Levinas and Beauvoir each offer phenomenological analyses of shame in which its basic structure emerges as a feeling of being exposed to others and (...)
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  10. Lisa Guenther (2011). Subjects Without a World? An Husserlian Analysis of Solitary Confinement. Human Studies 34 (3):257-276.
    Psychiatrist Stuart Grassian has proposed the term “SHU syndrome” to name the cluster of cognitive, perceptual and affective symptoms that commonly arise for inmates held in the Special Housing Units (SHU) of supermax prisons. In this paper, I analyze the harm of solitary confinement from a phenomenological perspective by drawing on Husserl’s account of the essential relation between consciousness, the experience of an alter ego and the sense of a real, Objective world. While Husserl’s prioritization of transcendental subjectivity over transcendental (...)
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  11. Lisa Guenther (2011). The Ethics and Politics of Otherness: Negotiating Alterity and Racial Difference. Philosophia 1 (2):195-214.
    "In her essay "Choosing the Margin," bell hooks draws attention to the way uncritical celebrations of difference and otherness often act as an alibi for progressive politics. The recent proliferation of discourses on alterity, particularly with the growth of Levinas studies, makes hooks's critique all the more relevant for ethical and political theory today. To what extent has this emphasis on alterity affected the dynamics of philosophical and political life? Does it fall into the trap that hooks identifies here as (...)
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  12. Lisa Guenther (2010). Other Fecundities: Proust and Irigaray on Sexual Difference. Differences 21 (2).
    Irigaray's early work seeks to multiply possibilities for women's self-expression by recovering a sexual difference in which male and female are neither the same nor opposites, but irreducibly different modes of embodiment. In her more recent work, however, Irigaray has emphasized the duality of the sexes at the expense of multiplicity, enshrining the heterosexual couple as the model of sexual ethics. Alison Stone's recent revision of Irigaray supplements her account of sexual duality with a theory of bodily multiplicity derived from (...)
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  13. Lisa Guenther (2009). “Nameless Singularity”: Levinas on Individuation and Ethical Singularity. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (1):167-187.
    Marion has criticized Levinas for failing to account for the individuation of the Other, thus leaving the face of the Other abstract, neutral and anonymous. I defend Levinas against this critique by distinguishing between the individuation of the subject through hypostasis and the singularization of self and Other through ethical response. An analysis of the instant in Levinas’s early and late work shows that it is possible to speak of a “nameless singularity” which does not collapse into neutrality or abstraction, (...)
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  14. Lisa Guenther (2009). Review of Diane Perpich, The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (2).
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  15. Lisa Guenther (2009). Who Follows Whom? Derrida, Animals and Women. Derrida Today 2 (2):151-165.
    In ‘L'Animal que donc je suis’, Derrida analyzes the paradoxical use of discourses on shame and original sin to justify the human domination of other animals. In the absence of any absolute criterion for distinguishing between humans and other animals, human faultiness becomes a sign of our exclusive capacity for self-consciousness, freedom and awareness of mortality. While Derrida's argument is compelling, he neglects to explore the connection between the human domination of animals and the male domination of women. Throughout ‘L'Animal’, (...)
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  16. Lisa Guenther (2008). Being-From-Others: Reading Heidegger After Cavarero. Hypatia 23 (1):99-118.
    : Drawing on Adriana Cavarero's account of natality, Guenther argues that Martin Heidegger overlooks the distinct ontological and ethical significance of birth as a limit that orients one toward an other who resists appropriation, even while handing down a heritage of possibilities that one can—and must—make one's own. Guenther calls this structure of natality Being-from-others, modifying Heidegger's language of inheritance to suggest an ethical understanding of existence as the gift of the other.
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  17. Lisa Guenther (2007). Copula. Symposium 11 (1):201-204.
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  18. Lisa Guenther (2007). Le Flair Animal: Levinas and the Possibility of Animal Friendship. PhaenEx 2 (2):216-238.
    In Otherwise than Being, Levinas writes that the alterity of the Other escapes “le flair animal,” or the animal’s sense of smell. This paper puts pressure on the strong human-animal distinction that Levinas makes by considering the possibility that, while non-human animals may not respond to the alterity of the Other in the way that Levinas describes as responsibility, animal sensibility plays a key role in a relation to Others that Levinas does not discuss at length: friendship. This approach to (...)
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  19. Lisa Guenther & Chloë Taylor (2007). Editorial Introduction: Special Topics Issue on Other Animals. Phaenex 2 (2).
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  20. Lisa Guenther (2006). "Like a Maternal Body": Emmanuel Levinas and the Motherhood of Moses. Hypatia 21 (1):119-136.
    : Emmanuel Levinas compares ethical responsibility to a maternal body who bears the Other in the same without assimilation. In explicating this trope, he refers to a biblical passage in which Moses is like a "wet nurse" bearing Others whom he has "neither conceived nor given birth to" (Num. 11:12). A close reading of this passage raises questions about ethics, maternity, and sexual difference, for both the concept of ethical substitution and the material practice of mothering.
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  21. Lisa Guenther (2006). The Gift of the Other: Levinas and the Politics of Reproduction. SUNY Press.
    The Gift of the Other brings together a philosophical analysis of time, embodiment, and ethical responsibility with a feminist critique of the way women’s reproductive capacity has been theorized and represented in Western culture. Author Lisa Guenther develops the ethical and temporal implications of understanding birth as the gift of the Other, a gift which makes existence possible, and already orients this existence toward a radical responsibility for Others. Through an engagement with the work of Levinas, Beauvoir, Arendt, Irigaray, and (...)
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  22. Lisa Guenther (2005). Lucky Burden. Symposium 9 (2):177-194.
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  23. Lisa Guenther (2003). William Desmond, Ethics and the Between Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 23 (2):96-98.
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