Ashli Anda

Ph.D. Student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Myisha Cherry

Not only did she inspire this section of my site but she’s also really friggin’ cool and a brilliant scholar. Myisha Cherry works on moral psychology and social and political philosophy, and she created the UnMute Podcast. I’ve not had the opportunity to get to know her but I admire her so much because she’s exactly the kind of philosopher I strive to be: a public philosopher. Engaging with her work and hearing a bit about her years of teaching from friends has prompted me to ask (quite often) what does it take to be a public philosopher? 

If I could offer one takeaway from all of the stuff I know about her work, it would be that philosophy will always be good for conceptual assessment and reflection but that’s not all it’s good for. Thinking philosophically about psychology, wrongdoing, and justice must happen. But we also need to do something to change the world. How do we respond to state violence? How do we bring about justice after major injustices occur? It turns out that philosophy can help us do the conceptual work and the practical work that’s necessary to effect real change.

Recommended Reading

Elaine Scarry

Yesterday, I met Elaine Scarry at the Humanities and Public Life conference which was really cool and exciting because I’d read The Body in Pain during my first semester of my master’s program. Her talk, “Unheard Warnings: Nuclear Tyranny Requires a Sleeping Citizenry”, was based on her 2016 book Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom. The major takeaway? Nuclear weapons and governance are mutually exclusive. I won’t say more about that here but I will say that her presentation style was awesome. She was so engaging and easy to talk to and I’m so glad I got to hear that talk (and have lunch with her!). We talked a bit about how academics in the humanities can address the population’s indifference to the threat of nuclear war. She said we’ve got to wake people up. I said we need to get academics in the humanities to be scholar activists. I recognize some problems with this suggestion. I have to think more about how to promote scholar activism in the humanities without alienating traditional, research-focused academics. 

Recommended Reading

Scholars I admire!

I got this idea from Myisha Cherry’s site. Under the heading “Research”, she’s got a section called “Scholars You Should Know”. I really love this idea because it’s a chance to introduce my friends and colleagues to awesome scholars, it will motivate me to post here more regularly (fingers crossed), and it’s a way that I can bookmark works that I want to revisit (because I haven’t managed to organize or understand my “bookmark manager”). I’ll be sure to link their sites and (try to) offer accessible readings of theirs.

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