Spring 2022 Newsletter

University of Minnesota

Dear Friends of the Department of Philosophy,
It has been an exciting year for the Department of Philosophy, with new faces in Heller Hall and new initiatives taking shape over the fall and spring! 
This fall we welcomed two new faculty members, Carl Elliott and Dwight K. Lewis Jr. You may have seen Carl’s work on issues in bioethics and medicine in publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, or The New York Times. His books include Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream, (Norton 2003), and White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine (Beacon 2010). He is currently writing a book about whistleblowers in medical research.
Dwight is an expert on the history of early modern philosophy, with a focus on the philosophy of Anton Willhelm Amo (c.1700–c.1750), the first African to earn a PhD in philosophy from a European university. He also works on Africana philosophy and the philosophy of race. He was recently featured on the Smithsonian Channel’s program One Thousand Years of Slavery. You can also check out his podcast, Larger, Freer, More Loving.
Along with Jessica Gordon-Roth and Bennett McNulty, Dwight is a co-founder of the new Minnesota Center for Canon Expansion and Change. The center seeks to change the way the history of modern philosophy is taught by including new and neglected voices alongside the more familiar figures. The larger goal is to make the canon in philosophy more diverse and more inclusive. A pilot summer program will run in August, with more activities planned for the future.
This spring we launched our first ever Philosophy Capstone course. The course brings together philosophy majors who are completing their senior capstone projects. This spring there were projects on the ethics of immigration, the goodness or badness of death, Freudian psychoanalysis, the philosophy of Anne Conway, biocentrism in environmental ethics, the meaning of the word “woman,” and many others. The course was a great success and will be the new model for how philosophy majors complete their capstone projects.

We had lots of good news this year about grants and awards for faculty and graduate students. A few highlights:

  • Samuel Fletcher received a career grant from the National Science Foundation and a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Michael Bennett McNulty has received the 2022–24 McKnight Land Grant Professorship.
  • Alan Love is the recipient of the University of Minnesota Distinguished McKnight University Professorship and received a $15 million grant from the Templeton Foundation.
  • Michelle Mason Bizri was appointed the John M. Dolan professor.
  • Roy Cook and Jessica Gordon-Roth are the Stephen Setterberg faculty fellows.
  • Áila O'Loughlin received a Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship.

Please see our News and Events page for the latest updates.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support of the philosophy department! With the pandemic finally receding (fingers crossed) we are looking forward to returning to a more normal state of being. We hope to see you in person sometime soon! 
Peter Hanks
Professor and Chair

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