Asian, American, Woman, Philosopher

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2015-04-11 23:15Z by Steven

Asian, American, Woman, Philosopher

The Stone
The New York Times

George Yancy, Professor of Philosophy
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Emily S. Lee, Associate Professor of Philosophy
California State University, Fullerton

This is the ninth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Emily S. Lee, an associate professor of philosophy at the California State University, Fullerton. She is the editor of “Living Alterities: Phenomenology, Embodiment, and Race.” — George Yancy

George Yancy: You work at the intersection of race and phenomenology (the investigation of direct structures of experience). What got you interested in this area?

Emily S. Lee: Well, I’ve always been interested in how people can live in close proximity, share experiences, even within a family and yet draw very different conclusions from the experience. So when I began reading the French philosopher M. Merleau-Ponty’sPhenomenology of Perception,” I really appreciated his care and attention to how this phenomenon can occur. Because an experience is not directly drawn from the empirical circumstances; it is also structured by the accumulated history and aspirations of each of the subjects undergoing the experience, Merleau-Ponty’s work helps to systematically understand how one can share an experience, and yet still take away different conclusions.

It was with luck that while I was reading Merleau-Ponty’s book, I was also reading the critical race theorist Patricia Williams’s book, “The Alchemy of Race and Rights.” I found some of her descriptions and analysis demonstrating the chasms of understanding among different “races” incredibly enlightening. I thought an explanation for many of the racial phenomena that Williams described in terms of the inexplicable dearth of understanding among various racialized subjects could be facilitated with the phenomenological framework…

Read the entire article here.

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