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Gail D Weiss Faculty Member


Gail Weiss is Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She recently concluded a four year term as Executive Co-Director of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP). SPEP is the largest society for Continental philosophy in North America with an average annual meeting attendance of approximately 600 scholars from a variety of disciplines in addition to philosophy. She is currently serving as General Secretary of the International Merleau Ponty Circle. These are the main leadership positions in both professional philosophical organizations. She is the author of two monographs: Refiguring the Ordinary (Indiana U. Press, 2008) and Body Images: Embodiment as Intercorporeality (Routledge 1999). Her most recent co-edited volume, 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology (co-edited with Ann V. Murphy and Gayle Salamon) was published in 2020 by Northwestern University Press. Her current monograph, Existential Ambiguities: Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty, is under contract with Indiana University Press. Weiss has also edited or co-edited several volumes focused on issues of embodiment, including: Intertwinings: Interdisciplinary Encounters with Merleau-Ponty (SUNY 2008), Feminist Interpretations of Maurice Merleau-Ponty with Dorothea Olkowski (Penn State Press 2006), Thinking the Limits of the Body with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (SUNY 2003), and Perspectives on Embodiment: The Intersections of Nature and Culture with Honi Fern Haber (Routledge 1999). She has served as a Guest Co-Editor, with Andrew Cutrofello, for two SPEP Special Issues of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol 23.3 (fall 2020) and Vol. 33.3 (fall 2019), published by Penn State U. Press. With Debra Bergoffen, she was Guest Co-Editor of the Summer 2011 Special Issue of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy on “The Ethics of Embodiment,” Vol. 26.3. Weiss and Bergoffen also co-edited a Winter 2012 Hypatia Cluster entitled, "Contesting the Norms of Embodiment," that appeared in Volume 27.2. In addition to her books and edited volumes, Weiss has published numerous journal articles and book chapters that utilize a feminist phenomenological methodology to address the effects of race, sex, gender, disability, religion, and aging on human bodies and social relationships. Her interdisciplinary work lies at the intersection of phenomenology, feminist theory, critical race theory, and disability studies and she is internationally renowned for her work as a feminist phenomenologist who specializes on issues of embodiment, and as a Merleau-Ponty and Beauvoir scholar. Her forthcoming book, Existential Ambiguities: Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty, will be the first scholarly monograph to explore the deep connections between their respective emphases upon the “existential ambiguities” of human existence, an expression Weiss invokes to refer to the fact that any human experience always has more than one possible meaning. During her years at GW, she has acquired extensive administrative experience as a former Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in the Human Sciences, and she has served on numerous college and University curricular and advisory committees. She chaired the search committee for the new Director of GW’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program in Spring 2020 and previously chaired the search committee that resulted in the hire of former GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ben Vinson. Weiss was Dean’s Research Professor at GW from 2016-2019 and she offers many different courses in her areas of specialization at both the graduate and undergraduate level including: 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Feminist Ethics and Policy, Disciplining Bodies, Reading Existential Literature, Philosophy of Race and Gender, and a new graduate seminar: Queer(ing) Philosophy and LBGTQ Policy that is being offered in spring 2022. She is especially proud to have maintained close connections with so many former students who have pursued successful and personally-fulfilling careers both inside and outside the academy.

Research Areas

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