Laura McMahon

A photo of Laura McMahon

Assistant Professor

History and Philosophy; Women's and Gender Studies Department

702D Pray Harrold

734.487.0853

lmcmaho1@emich.edu

Education

  • Ph.D., Philosophy, Villanova University, 2015
  • MA, Philosophy, University of Guelph, 2010
  • BA, English Literature and Philosophy, McGill University, 2009

Interests and Expertise

Professor McMahon is President of the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy. Her research is focused in 20th-Century Continental Philosophy (especially Phenomenology and Existentialism) and Social and Political Philosophy. She also has substantial interest in 19th-Century Continental Philosophy and Feminist Philosophy. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the resources of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's existential phenomenology for understanding the nature of political life. Professor McMahon is also a Department Member in Women's & Gender Studies.

Courses

  • PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 225 Philosophy and Society
  • PHIL 226/WGST 226 Feminist Theory
  • PHIL 260 Existentialism
  • PHIL 310W Aesthetics
  • PHIL 332W Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 470W/570 Twentieth-Century European Philosophy
  • PHIL 495W/595 Phenomenology

Publications and Presentations

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “‘The Separation That is Not a Separation But a Form of Union’: Merleau-Ponty and Feminist Object Relations Theory in Dialogue.”  Forthcoming in Human Studies.
  • "Freedom as (Self-)Expression: Natality and the Temporality of Action in Merleau-Ponty and Arendt," The Southern Journal of PhilosophyVol. 57, no. 1 (2019), 56-79. 
  • “(Un)Healthy Systems: Merleau-Ponty, Dewey, and the Dynamic Equilibrium Between Self and Environment,” The Journal of Speculative PhilosophyVol. 32, no. 4 (2018), 607-627.
  • “Phenomenology as First-Order Perception: Speech, Vision, and Reflection in Merleau-Ponty,” Perception and Its Development in Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy, eds. Kirsten Jacobson and John Russon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017).
  • “‘Thinking According to Others’: Expression, Intimacy, and the Passage of Time in Merleau-Ponty and Woolf,” Phenomenology and the Arts, eds. Peter Costello and Licia Carlson (Lexington Books, 2016).
  • “The Phantom Organic: Merleau-Ponty and the Psychoanalysis of Nature,” Chiasmi International 16 (2015), 275-90.
  • “Home Invasions: Phenomenological and Psychoanalytic Reflections on Embodiment Relations, Vulnerability, and Breakdown,” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy Vol. 28, no. 3 (2014), 358-69.

Book Reviews

  • Review of Susan Bredlau’s The Other in Perception: A Phenomenological Account of Our Experience of Other Persons (SUNY, 2018). Forthcoming in Continental Philosophy Review.
  • Review of Don Beith’s The Birth of Sense: Generative Passivity in Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy (Ohio UP, 2018). Environmental Philosophy Vol. 16, no. 1: 241-44.
  • Review of Judith Wambacq's Thinking Between Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty (Ohio University Press, 2017), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, July 19, 2018.
  • Review of Scott Marratto's The Intercorporeal Self: Merleau-Ponty on Subjectivity (State University of New York Press, 2012), Symposium, March 19, 2013.

Dissertation

  • Vulnerability and Security: Merleau-Ponty on Personal and Political Life.

Selected Professional Presentations

  • “‘The Separation That is Not a Separation But a Form of Union’: Merleau-Ponty and Feminist Object Relations Theory in Dialogue.”  Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.  Pittsburgh, PA: October 31-November 2, 2019.
  • “Palimpsestic Transformations: Religion, Multiculturalism, and Phenomenology as a Critical Practice.” The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy.  Lennoxville, QC: September 26-28, 2019.
  • “The ‘Great Phantom’: Merleau-Ponty on Habitus, Freedom, and Political Transformation.”  The International Merleau-Ponty Circle.  New York, NY: September 12-14, 2019.
  • “‘The Courage for Anxiety’: Resoluteness, Repetition, and Historicity in Being and Time.” Bishop University’s Heidegger Symposium. Lennoxville, QC: November 10, 2018."
  • On Vulnerability and Security: Syncretic Experience, Recognition, and the Intercorporeal Formation of Selfhood in Merleau-Ponty," The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Calgary, AB: November 15-17, 2018).
  • "Vulnerability, Destiny, and Responsibility in Oedipus Rex," Seminar on Greek Tragedy (Windsor, ON: January 20, 2018).
  • "(Un)Healthy Systems: Merleau-Ponty, Dewey, and the Dynamic Equilibrium Between Self and Environment,” The International Merleau-Ponty Circle (Albuquerque, NM, November 2-4, 2017); Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences Memphis, TN: October 19-21, 2017).
  • “Freedom as (Self-)Expression: Natality and the Temporality of Action in Bergson, Arendt, and Merleau-Ponty,” The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Toronto, ON: September 28-30, 2017).
  • “Eros and Logos: An Interpretation of Merleau-Ponty’s ‘The Body as a Sexed Being,’” The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Halifax, NS: September 29-October 1, 2016); Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (Salt Lake City, UT: October 20-22, 2016).
  • “The ‘Great Phantom’: Merleau-Ponty on Habit, Group Life, and Political Solidarity,” Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Washington, D.C., January 6-8, 2016).
  • “Habits of Autonomy: Merleau-Ponty, Feminist Philosophy, and the Virtue of Vulnerability,” Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (New Orleans, October 23-25, 2014); philoSOPHIA (State College, PA, May 1-4, 2014).
  • “Home Invasions: Embodiment, Vulnerability, and Breakdown in Merleau-Ponty,” Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (Eugene, OR, October 24-26, 2013)
  • “The Phantom Organic: Merleau-Ponty and the Psychoanalysis of Nature,” International Merleau-Ponty Circle (Pittsburgh, PA, September 26-28, 2013) [*Winner of the M. C. Dillon Award for best paper by a graduate student]; Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Toronto, ON, October 10-12, 2013).
  • “Knowing the Difference: Eros and Writing in Plato’s Phaedrus,” Pennsylvania Circle of Ancient Philosophy (Pittsburgh, PA, February 16-17, 2013).
  • “‘We Have Yet to Become Human’”: Reappropriating Universal Human Rights with Judith Butler,” On the Concept of Life in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Participants’ Conference, Collegium Phaenomenologicum (Cittá di Castello, Italy, July 7-8, 2012).
  • “Positioning Foucault: Critique in the Face of the Blackmail of the Enlightenment,” Actuality and the Idea, (Princeton, NJ, May 11-12, 2012).
  • “Phenomenology as First-Order Perception: Speech, Vision, and Reflection in Merleau-Ponty,” Re-approaching the Foundations of Phenomenology (New York, NY, March 30-31, 2012).
  • “The Philosophical Life as the Practice of ‘Dying and Being Dead’: Plato’s Phaedo and the Death of Socrates,” Plato and the Experience of Philosophy (Guelph, ON, November 11-12, 2012).
  • “‘There is Still Life’: Torture, Vulnerability, and the Body,” Global Justice, the Environment, and the Economy, Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy (Victoria, BC, October 14-16, 2011) [*Winner of CSWIP’s award for the best paper by a graduate student].