I recently completed a book manuscript on the role of teleology in Kant’s political philosophy. Kant’s Nonideal Theory of Politics (Northwestern University Press, 2019) argues that Kant’s political thought must be understood by reference to his philosophy of history, cultural anthropology, and geography. The central thesis of the book is that Kant’s assessment of the politically-salient features of history, culture, and geography generates a nonideal theory of politics, which supplements his well-known ideal theory of cosmopolitanism. This novel analysis thus challenges the common assumption that an ideal theory of cosmopolitanism constitutes Kant’s sole political legacy today.
I demonstrate that Kant employs a teleological worldview throughout his political writings as a means of grappling with the pressing issues of multiplicity, diversity, and plurality—issues that confront us to this day. Kant’s own nonideal theory remains Eurocentric. However, the close attention he pays to the context of our social existence inspires us to produce better political theories, that is, more accurate diagnoses of how our portrayals of history, culture, and geography influence the organization of our collective lives.
Current Research Projects:
My research interests gravitate toward a social and political philosophy construed outside of a European/Anglo-American paradigm. In the past year or so I have also been conducting research on the texts and thinkers of decolonial thought, including those related to Grupo Modernidad/Colonialidad. During the summer of 2017 I attended a 2-week intensive summer school on decolonial thought in Barcelona, Spain, organized by Center of Study and Investigation for Decolonial Dialogues, on the theme, “Decolonizing Knowledge and Power.” I am the co-organizer of an interdisciplinary faculty-graduate reading group on Post- and Decolonial Thought, which meets during the Spring semester of 2018.
Currently I am at work on a few writing and research projects: I am writing about the particular notions of culture and life operative in the Kantian sublime both in Observations of the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime and the Critique of Judgment; I am completing another piece on the contemporary relevance and irrelevance of Kant’s ideal of hospitality to the Syrian refugee crisis, and I am thinking about the decolonial feminist challenges to European feminist philosophies.