Katie Kirby, associate professor of philosophy and director of global studies, had an article entitled “Cultivating Responsible Global Citizenship: Philosophical Exploration & Service-Learning in Guyana" published in a book collection, Experiential Learning in Philosophy, in September 2015. She gave an invited presentation on this work last April at Frostburg State University, in Maryland. She presented “Economics For-the-Other: Can Capitalism Be Made to Hear the Call to Responsibility?” at Purdue University in July for the 10th Annual Meeting of the North American Levinas Society, where she also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. She presented “The Idolatry of Individualism & the Cultural Violence of Indifference” at the annual meeting of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, in October at Loyola University, in Baltimore, Maryland.
(posted January 2016)
Katherine Kirby, associate professor of philosophy/director of the Global Studies Program, recently was elected to be a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Levinas Society. She also has given two conference presentations in recent months: At the annual meeting of the North American Levinas Society at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, July 28-31, she presented "Relinquishing 'religion' for the Sake of Religion: Judgment vs. Justice." In this paper, she discusses Emmanuel Levinas' suggestion that Religion is discourse, and real "interreligious dialogue" would paradoxically depend upon the relinquishing of religious judgment, in service to justice. She then suggests and explains the important emotional underpinning (fear/anger) to our conceptualizations that makes relinquishing judgment incredibly difficult, and all the more necessary. She explores this argument in the context of our modern media’s treatment of events involving persons of Islamic faith and examines these justice dilemmas in order to elucidate Levinas' argument that God – the divine – is present among us only in "the justice rendered unto men" (Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 78). Katie also presented "TV as Gadfly: A Contemporary Call to Critique" at the NorthEast Popular/American Culture Association at Saint Michael's College October 25-26, 2013. In this paper, she examined the role that certain very well-done TV shows can play in challenging viewers to call into question their assumptions, stereotypes, and worldviews. She used The Wire as her example of a TV show that provokes philosophical questioning through the presentation of complex, multi-dimensional characters who unsettle us and call us to care about their struggles and their fates, and demand that we not sit comfortably with our limited understanding of their "worlds." In this way, the creators of such TV shows act as Socratic gadflies and call us to be more open-minded and open-hearted in our endeavor to understand others. (November 2013)