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Preeminent Philosopher Linda Martin Alcoff to Speak at W&L

Dr. Linda Martin Alcoff, professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, will present the Root Lecture for 2014 at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, March 12, at 5:15 p.m. in Northen Auditorium in Leyburn Library.

The title of the lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “The Future of Whiteness.” It is sponsored by the Philosophy Department.

The child of a Panamanian father and an American mother, Alcoff’s work seeks to understand identity and epistemology from the context of different socio-cultural realities.

Florentien Verhage, assistant professor of philosophy at W&L, said of Alcoff, “she is one of this country’s preeminent philosophers. Her writings have focused on social identity and race, epistemology and politics, sexual violence and Latino issues in philosophy.”

Alcoff has used her philosophical analysis to provide fresh perspectives on national policy debates. Regarding the war on terror, she has examined how minority identities, such as those of American Muslims, South Asian immigrants and Indian Sikhs, can be misconstrued and artificially grouped in response to external threats. With respect to immigration, she is specifically interested in the politics of “mestizo” or hybrid identity. She has taught and lectured on these topics throughout the Americas and Europe.

Alcoff has written two books “Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self” (2006) and “Real Knowing: New Versions of the Coherence Theory” (1996). She has also edited 10 books, including “The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy” (2006); “Identity Politics Reconsidered” (2006); “Saint Paul among the Philosophers” (2009); and “Feminism, Sexuality and the Return of Religion” (2011).

She is president of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, for 2012-2013 and is a co-editor of “Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.” She has held an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship, a fellowship from the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University and was named one of Syracuse University’s first Meredith Professors for Teaching Excellence. Alcoff also served as co-director of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.

Alcoff was named the Distinguished Woman in Philosophy for 2005 by the Society for Women in Philosophy, and in 2006 she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine. In September 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Oslo. Her book “Visible Identities,” won the Frantz Fanon Award in 2009.

The Root Lecture Fund was established by Robert W. Root (W&L ’42) in 1991 to support guest speakers selected by the Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Religion.