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Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

Dr. Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature

Director of Graduate Studies

Office: 637 Clemens Hall

Office Hours: By appointment

Phone: 645-0853


Ewa Plonowska Ziarek is Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature. Her teaching interests include feminist theory, modernism, continental philosophy, ethics, and critical theory. She is the author of The Rhetoric of Failure: Deconstruction of Skepticism, Reinvention of Modernism. (SUNY, 1995), An Ethics of Dissensus: Feminism, Postmodernity, and the Politics of Radical Democracy. (Stanford 2001); the editor of Gombrowicz’s Grimaces: Modernism, Gender, Nationality, (SUNY, 1998); and the co-editor (with Tina Chanter) of Revolt, Affect, Collectivity: The Unstable Boundaries of Kristeva’s Polis (SUNY, 2005) and Intermedialities: Philosophy, Art, Politics (forthcoming). She has published numerous articles on Kristeva, Irigaray, Derrida, Foucault, Levinas, Fanon and literary modernism.

Her long term research project — conceived as a sequence of three books — aims to reassess the contestations and contributions of feminism to the project of modernity. Devoted to the question of feminist ethics, An Ethics of Dissensus is the first part of this trilogy. The book reformulates the relation between freedom and obligation, by taking into account the historical constitution of subjectivity, power structures, and the role of embodiment, sexuality, and racial differences. By engaging a number of thinkers ranging from Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, bell hooks, Cornel West, Patricia Williams, Chantal Mouffe, Ernesto Laclau, to Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray, Ziarek’s vision of ethics negotiates among the discourses that rarely address each other: ethical theory, feminism, psychoanalysis, race theory, Continental philosophy, and the politics of radical democracy. In so doing, she develops an alternative model of intersubjective relations in which respect for otherness and accountability for oppression are necessary conditions of solidarity and democratic community. She has recently published athe second book in this series, Feminist Aestheticsand the Politics of Modernism. Please find it here: Her study is one of the first to combine an in-depth engagement with philosophical aesthetics, especially the work of Theodor W. Adorno, with women’s literary modernism, particularly the writing of Virginia Woolf and Nella Larsen, along with feminist theories on the politics of race and gender.

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