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McGill University Philosophy Professor to Lecture at W&L

Alia Al-Saji, associate professor in the department of philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Monday, April 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the Hillel House.

The title of her lecture is “A Phenomenology of Hesitation: Interrupting Racializing Habits of Perception.” It is free and open to the public.

In her work, Al-Saji asks how perception becomes racializing and seeks the means for its critical interruption. She said, “The aim of my talk is both to understand the recalcitrant structure of racializing habits of seeing and to uncover the possibilities within perception for a critical awareness and destabilization of these habits.

“Drawing on Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in dialogue with Frantz Fanon and race-critical feminism, in hesitation the moment when habits of seeing can be internally fractured.  Hesitation makes visible the exclusionary logic of objectifying perception, countering its rigidity and opening it to critical transformation.”

Al-Saji is the author of more than 15 articles, including “When Thinking Hesitates: Philosophy as Prosthesis and Transformative Vision” in The Southern Journal of Philosophy (June, 2112); “Creating Possibility: The Time of the Quebec Student Movement” in Theory & Event (2012 Supplement); and “The Racialization of Muslim Veils: A Philosophical Analysis” in Philosophy Social Criticism (Oct. 2010).

Al-Saji’s research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Le fonds de recherche du Québec en société  et culture.  In 2009, she was awarded a fellowship at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and was a fellow at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI) at McGill University. She was awarded a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham University for fall 2012.

Al-Saji served on the executive committee of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP), the second largest philosophical association in North America.  She is currently a co-editor of the “Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy” and the Feminist Philosophy section editor of “Philosophy Compass.”

She received her B.A. from McMaster University, her M.A. from Catholic University of Louvain and her Ph.D. from Emory University.

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Julie Cline
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