The Kennesaw School of Comparative Philosophy

The Kennesaw School of Comparative Philosophy, Kennesaw State University, Georgia, USA

The Kennesaw School of Comparative Philosophy suggests an approach that aspires to avoid hegemonic thinking – where one culture is displaced by another, more dominant one – by creating a thinking space where cultures can meaningfully interact without losing their particular cultural and historical integrity.

Founded on the premise that philosophy extends beyond the boundaries established by the Western canon, the Kennesaw School focuses on pedagogical practices that value concrete experience over ahistorical categories and methods of analysis, diversity over homogeneity, and ambiguity over identity, and is therefore primarily concerned with doing philosophy from within various cultural contexts for the sake of creating a dialogical space that moves beyond a simple accounting of similarities and differences between traditions worldwide. The program currently offers a B.A. in philosophy that provides students with a firm foundation in three areas of concentration, including Non-Western Philosophy (Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Latin American and Caribbean), Western Philosophy (Ancient and Medieval, Modern, Nineteenth Century, Contemporary, Existentialism and Phenomenology, and American), and Ethics/Social and Political Philosophy (Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Feminism, and Philosophies of Peace).

The comparative nature of the program was conceived and initiated by Professor David Jones over the last twenty years, and finally found support – together with and in large part owing to combined efforts with other faculty members – after the launch of a major in 2011.That same year the program hired an additional tenure-track faculty member in philosophy, with two more being hired in 2013. In 2015 the program’s mission was secured with the launch of a new course in Methods and Themes in Comparative Philosophy, which is mandatory for all majors.

Faculty in the program sit on the executive boards of several professional societies and associations, including the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, the Académie du Midi Philosophical Association, the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Asian & Asian-American Philosophers & Philosophies, the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and the Society for Teaching Comparative Philosophy. Faculty members also participate in and/or serve as advisors for the Association of Asian Studies, the National Association of Chicana/o Scholars, and the Society for Mexican-American Philosophy.

The program now houses a major peer-reviewed journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy, and a book series, the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Book Series (Northwestern University Press), both of which have faculty serving as Editor and on the editorial board. The program also supports and advises the Philosophy Student Association, one of the most active student organizations in the country USA, founded in 1996. For over fifteen years the PSA has delivered the Mike Ryan Lecture Series. Since 2010, the PSA has hosted some fifty-five local, national, and international speakers as a part of the series. In addition, the PSA inaugurated the first student philosophy conference in the State of Georgia. 2016 marked its 12th year.

Current full-time faculty members in the program include Susan Rouse, Gabriel Soldatenko, Amy K. Donahue, Andrew K. Whitehead, Ian Sullivan, and the program’s spiritus-rector, David E. Jones.

 

—Andrew K. Whitehead, Kennesaw State University, Georgia, USA