Florentien M. Verhage Associate Professor of Philosophy

Florentien M. Verhage

verhagef@wlu.edu

Professor Verhage joined the Department of Philosophy in 2008. She is also a core faculty member in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

My work in feminist phenomenology is strongly informed by the Chicana activist, poet, and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa and could be described as a philosophy of the in-between. Anzaldúa writes: "We need to give up the notion that there is a 'correct' way to write theory…[and] formulate 'marginal' theories that are partially outside and partially inside the western frame of reference (if that is possible), theories that overlap many 'worlds.' We are articulating new positions in these 'in-between,' borderland worlds of ethnic communities and academies, feminist and job worlds" (The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader, 137).

To me, Anzaldúa’s work is a continual reminder to reach out beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries in order to learn to listen better, see better, and to understand better.

My current research project uses this interdisciplinary approach in order to better understand the constitutive power of the unheard voice. In “Silence in a Singing World” I follow the voices of the Native-American and African diaspora poets, theorists, and artists, to consider how each person is shaped by voices that have been erased (often violently) from the dialogues they participate in, from the histories they are embedded in, and from the lands they stand on. While Continental philosophy is well-situated to think through spaces of “non-appearance,” it also runs up to its own limits when trying to attend to such unheard voices. I wonder, what it means for the discipline of philosophy to participate in the important work of uncovering silenced voices by “listening to [their] hum” (Tina Campt) and by using practices of “not-telling” (NourbeSe Philip), “unsaying,” (Trinh T. Minha), and “unforgetting,” (Roxane Dunbar Ortiz), and attending to “the wake” (Christina Sharpe).

Education

  • Ph.D. Philosophy, McGill University (2009)
  • M.A. Philosophy of Cognitive Science, University of Sussex (2001)
  • B.A/M.A. Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Maastricht (1999)

Research

Phenomenology (esp. Merleau-Ponty), 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Gender Theory, Chicana Theory, Borderland Theory, Critical Race Theory, Post-Colonial & De-Colonial Theory

Teaching

  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Continental Philosophy:Being in the World
  • Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (for WGSS)
  • Personal Identity
  • Existentialism: Meaning and Existence
  • Postmodernism: Power, Difference, Disruption
  • The Unruly Body: Philosophy, Science, Culture (cross-referenced with WGSS)
  • The Second Sex: Beauvoir on the Power of Gender (crosslisted with WGSS)
  • The Self and the Social World (cross-referenced with WGSS)
  • Perception and Human Experience: Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology
  • Seminar on Living Philosopher: Linda Alcoff – Knowledge and Identity (Capstone Course)
  • Honor's Thesis Writing Seminar

Selected Publications

 

Articles

  • “Living With(out) Borders: Oppression as Intimate Experience,” Emotion Space and Society 11 (2014): 96-105. Reprinted in Intimacy and Embodiment, a special issue of Emotion, Space and Society 13 (2014): 111–120.
  • “The Body as Measurant of All: Dis-covering the Other,” Symposium 12 (2008): 166-182.

Book Chapters

  • “'I Must be Surprised, Disoriented:' Merleau-Ponty on Language as Disruptive Movement.” In Understanding Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Understanding Modernism, edited by Ariane Mildenberg. Series: Understanding Philosophy, Understanding Modernism. New York: Bloomsbury: 2018.
  • “Philosophy Comes to Life: Elaborating an Idea of Feminist Philosophy.” In Feminist Philosophies of Life, edited by Chloe Taylor and Hasana Sharp, 146-162. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press: 2016.
  • “The Vision of the Artist/Mother: The Strange Creativity of Painting and Pregnancy.” in Coming to Life: Philosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering, edited by Sarah LaChance Adams and Caroline Lundquist, 300-319. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.

Other

  • Glossary Entry: “Lived Experience.” In Understanding Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Understanding Modernism, edited by Ariane Mildenberg. Understanding Philosophy, Understanding Modernism. New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.