Writ Large

I am a Ph.D. candidate in critical social theory at Columbia. Before that, I completed my BPhil in Philosophy at Oxford, and before that I did a BA at Princeton.

My research program explores how individuals and social subjects come into being, focusing on the conditions under which they flourish or on the other hand, fail. I approach these topics through the framework of normative critical theory. Building on Aristotle and Hegel, who articulate social conditions on self-actualization for individuals, my work integrates social philosophy, especially the Frankfurt school, feminist theory, and the philosophy of race. The underpinnings of my research are based in questions about the ways that agents and their subjectivity are formed in the social world—connecting issues of freedom, ideology, power, identity, and self-realization to psychic questions about the nature of self-consciousness and recognition.

In my book manuscript, What’s False about False Consciousness, I reconstruct an account of false consciousness as a deficient relationship to oneself and to one’s social world. In particular, I argue that false consciousness is the result of our repeated attempts to form meaningful attachments to a social and political world that fails to provide us with the necessary conditions for our self-realization. Drawing from Aristotelian and Hegelian ideas of social organisms that can become sick and fail to fulfil its functions, as well as work by Fanon and de Beauvoir on self-constitution in the conditions of injustice, I link both the psychological and structural conditions of false consciousness. In the process, I conclude that emancipation from false consciousness requires changing our material reality (e.g., by refiguring exploitative relations of subordination and extraction) and our psychic relations (e.g., by transforming colonization’s hold on the imagination).

I’ve recently been thinking about the role of utopian theorizing and imagination in critical theory, drawing from Frankfurt school theory (especially Marcuse), post-work movements, and abolition. I’ve also been thinking about the figure of the “primitive” in legacies of critical theory and in Freud.

I have taught Philosophy & Feminism, Metaphysics, Early Modern Philosophy, Contemporary Moral Problems, Philosophy & Literature. Ethics, and Social and Political Philosophy. I have further teaching interests in 19th and 20th century continental thought as well as the Philosophy of Race.