Thursday, August 03, 2006

Iris Marion Young, 1949-2006

I was stunned to hear that one of my favorite feminist philosophers, Iris Marion Young, just passed away on August 1st. The listservs that I subscribe to: FEAST and SWIP have been filled with peoples' warm reflections on her as a person and a thinker. I too met Dr. Young while I was a graduate student. She was the most down-to-earth person--among the many bigwigs that came through--that I had the opportunity to meet during my graduate school career. I can't tell you how rare that quality is among some of the better renowned philosophers. I have never allowed myself to meet in person Luce Irigaray, fearing her personality would turn me off to her work forever.

Iris Marion Young's most famous essay, which is a must for anyone interested in feminist philosophy, particularly Continental Feminist Philosophy, is "Throwing Like a Girl." This was one of the first breakthrough phenomenological pieces on the gender differences in how we experience our bodies. Her latest work contributed to the deliberative democracy debates--injecting Continental feminist philosophy views into what have been debates dominated by John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, and Carl Schmitt (of all people?). I highly recommend Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy and Policy.

Its surely hard to see such a great luminary go at an early age. She clearly had much more to say and I hope that all of us begin to take up her work again and carry it forward.