The Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce that four new professors have decided either to join our faculty this fall or visit during the year.  These announcements (which are subject to Board approval) come as the department continues to move forward with another senior search. The announcements follow a highly successful recruitment cycle last year, which—according to Brian Leiter—already “stood a good chance of putting the department back in the U.S. top 50.” Following this more recent news, Leiter indicates that "Illinois/Urbana will probably re-enter the top 50."

Luvell Anderson

Our first new colleague will be Professor Luvell Anderson. Currently a professor at Syracuse University, Professor Anderson works in philosophy of language, African American philosophy, aesthetics, humor, and social ontology. Professor Anderson is one of the most talented philosophers of his generation, and he will join our faculty as a Full Professor of Philosophy. He is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race (Routledge) and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Applied Philosophy of Language (Oxford University Press). He has also published articles on the semantics of racial slurs and on racist humor. He is currently writing two books: The Ethics of Racial Humor (Oxford University Press), which examines when humor is racist and how one should navigate racial satire, and The Philosophy of Race and Racism (Routledge), which is an introduction to basic issues in the philosophy of race

Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson

Our second new colleague is Professor Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson. Currently a professor at Syracuse University, Professor Erlenbusch-Anderson is a critical theorist whose work is situated at the intersection of political theory, philosophy (with an emphasis on political philosophy and contemporary European philosophy), history, and conflict/terrorism studies. She is one of the most talented political theorists of her generation, and she will hold a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science. Her primary research focus is the development of a philosophically rigorous and empirically grounded account of terrorism useful for contemporary analysis. She is working on a book titled Traitors to Forgetting: A Genealogy of White Supremacist Terrorism in the United States, which combines the tools of critical race scholarship and philosophical genealogy to tell a new story of American terrorism. Her first book was Genealogies of Terrorism: Revolution, State Violence, Empire (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Bill Watson

Our third new colleague, Bill Watson, will hold a primary appointment in the College of Law and will be a faculty affiliate in our department.  Watson researches questions at the intersection of public law and philosophy, with an emphasis on precedential reasoning, statutory interpretation, and constitutional interpretation. He is currently working on projects that address the import of legal positivism for debates over legal interpretation; the independence of textualism in statutory interpretation from originalism in constitutional interpretation; and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent treatment of precedent. His work appears or is forthcoming in both law reviews and peer-reviewed journals.

Jordan Pascoe

Fourth, the department is very pleased to welcome Professor Jordan Pascoe as a George A. Miller Visiting Professor through the Center for Advanced Studies for the 2024-2025 academic year. George A. Miller Visiting Professors and Scholars are people of outstanding achievement in academic or public life who join our campus to participate in scholarly, professional, or creative programs. Pascoe works in moral, social, and political philosophy, applied ethics and bioethics, feminist epistemology, Kantian philosophy, and philosophy of race. She will be collaborating with faculty members—including Professors Helga Varden, Alison Duncan Kerr, and Jochen Bojanowski—to develop three workshops over the course of the year, one on the philosophy of aesthetics, another on the philosophy of gender/sex/love, and a third on the philosophy of race. Her visit will culminate in a conference on Kantian ethics in application to these and related topics to be published in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. Professor Pascoe coordinates the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love with Andrea Warmack and was the founding director of the Women and Gender Resource Center at Manhattan College. We are very excited to have her participating in a series of events that should raise the discourse around philosophy and these topics throughout the campus. Special thanks to Professor Varden for leading the nomination process to obtain this distinguished visit.

All of this news follows the department’s hiring of Alison Duncan Kerr, Kevin Scharp, and John Schwenkler in the Fall of 2023—thus generating one of the most exciting recent hiring streaks for a philosophy department. We hope to complete our remaining senior hiring process before the start of the term.