Johanna Oksala

Person

Research areas

Curriculum Vitae

 

I am currently Academy of Finland Research Fellow (2012-2017) in the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies at the University of Helsinki, and Visiting Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research, USA (2013-2016).

 

I have previously worked as Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Dundee, UK (2007-2011) and as Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, USA (2006-2007).

 

Areas of specialization

Social and Political Philosophy, Foucault, Feminist Philosophy, Phenomenology, 20th Century European Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy

 

Research

Foucault on Freedom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) identifies the different interpretations of freedom in Foucault's philosophy and shows that in order to appreciate his project fully we must understand his complex relationship to phenomenology. The book also discusses Foucault’s treatment of the body in relation to the feminist work on the topic and makes new openings in feminist phenomenology. The book has been reviewed in professional journals (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Foucault Studies, Redescriptions, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, The Journal of Value Inquiry, and Philosophy in Review), discussed in book panels (SPEP 2006, British Society for Phenomenology 2010), and cited widely.

 

How to Read Foucault (London: Granta Books, 2007) is an introductory book written for a wide academic audience. A review in Foucault Studies (no. 8, Feb 2010, by Trent Hamann) rates it as the best introduction to Foucault currently available. The book has been translated and republished in South-Korea, Japan and Brazil.

 

In Foucault, Politics, and Violence (Northwestern University Press, 2012) I develop an original philosophical position by outlining a distinctive conception of the political and its relationship to violence. My approach allows us to understand forms of violence that characterize our current political landscape: the relationship between violence and the law in the post-2001 world, gendered violence, state violence and its relationship to neoliberalism, and the significance of terrorism for our contemporary understanding of politics. In addition to Foucault’s thought, I critically assess the work of several other prominent philosophers advocating an agonistic conception of politics such as Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, Chantal Mouffe, Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Žižek. The book has been reviewed in journals such as Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Foucault Studies, and Philosophy Today.

 

Political Philosophy: All That Matters (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2013) is a compact guide to the key issues of political philosophy. Rather than attempting to provide definite answers, the book invites readers to recognize many of the issues encountered in everyday life as political, the outcome of human practices that incorporate power relations, social norms and obligations. I suggest that political philosophy should be understood as an open-ended, critical project that concerns everyone. The book employs an original structure: each chapter focuses on selected classic texts in political philosophy, which are briefly introduced and analysed. The texts then function as a springboard for a discussion of central contemporary issues in political philosophy.

Show LessMost recently, I have authored a monograph Feminist Experiences: Foucauldian and Phenomenological Investigations (forthcoming in Spring 2016, Northwestern Universtity Press). Feminist Experiences develops and defends a distinctive understanding of feminist philosophy as social critique. Feminist philosophy is essentially a political endeavor, I argue, aiming to expose, analyze, and ultimately change gendered power relations. However, such an understanding of feminist philosophy raises a host of theoretical problems and paradoxes. Iinvestigate the philosophical challenges and outlines the ontological presuppositions and methodological innovations the project requires. Drawing on conceptual tools from the thought of Michel Foucault, but also from the tradition of phenomenology, I explore the role of experience in feminist philosophy and its relationship to language and linguistic meaning. I conclude by sketching a feminist ontology of the present through a critical investigation of neoliberalism and the challenges it presents to feminist theory and politics. 

 

My most recent monograph Feminist Experiences: Foucauldian and Phenomenological Investigations (Northwestern Universtity Press, forthcoming in January 2016) develops and defends a distinctive understanding of feminist philosophy as social critique. Feminist philosophy is essentially a political endeavor, I argue, aiming to expose, analyze, and ultimately change gendered power relations. However, such an understanding of feminist philosophy raises a host of theoretical problems and paradoxes. I investigate the philosophical challenges and outline the ontological presuppositions and methodological innovations the project requires. Drawing on conceptual tools from the thought of Michel Foucault, but also from the tradition of phenomenology, I explore the role of experience in feminist philosophy and its relationship to language and linguistic meaning. I conclude by sketching a feminist ontology of the present through a critical investigation of neoliberalism and the challenges it presents to feminist theory and politics.

 

Membership in International Professional Associations and Boards

Academic journals

2013–          Editorial Board of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
2013–          Editorial Board of Philosophy Today
2013–          Editorial Board of Foucault Studies
2013–          Scientific Committee of Quadranti - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia Contemporanea
2010–          Scientific Committee of the Journal Materiali foucaultiani


Executive Boards

2014–             Executive Board Member, Nordic Society for Phenomenology
2010–2012     Executive Board Member, The British Society for Phenomenology
2007–2015     Executive Board Member, Society for European Philosophy

 

Membership in National Boards and Councils

2012–2016    Expert Member of the Finnish Council for Equality (TANE) working group on   Gender and Power, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
2013–             Member of the Research Committee for the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki
2011–2016     Member of the Advisory Board for the Finnish Doctoral School in Gender Studies

 

Refereeing and External Assessment

2007–2015   Member of the Peer Review College, Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK.
2010–2013   External Examiner, Critical and Creative Analysis MA programme, Goldsmiths University, UK.
2013              External Evaluator, Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Nov 2013.

 

International Academic Journals (referee for article submissions)

Administrative Theory & Praxis; Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory; Contemporary Political Theory; Continental Philosophy Review; Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; European Journal of Cultural Studies; European Journal of Political Theory; Foucault Studies; History of the Human Sciences; Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy; International Journal of Philosophical Studies; Journal of Bioethical Inquiry; Journal for Cultural Research; Journal of Family Theory & Review; Journal of Global Ethics; Materiali foucaultiani; NORA: Nordic Journal of Womens’ Studies; Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy; Feminist Theory; PhiloSOPHIA; Philosophy Compass; Radical Philosophy Review; Redescriptions: Yearbook of Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory; SATS: Nordic Journal of Philosophy.

Highlighted publications

  1. In Defense of Experience

    Oksala, J. Mar 2014 In : Hypatia. 29, 2, p. 388-403 16 p.

    Publication: Contribution to journalA1 Refereed journal article

  2. Foucault, Feminism and Neoliberal Governmentality

    Oksala, J. 2013 In : Foucault Studies. September 2013, 16, p. 32-53

    Publication: Contribution to journalA1 Refereed journal article

  3. The Neoliberal Subject of Feminism

    Oksala, J. 2011 In : Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology. 42, 1, p. 104-120

    Publication: Contribution to journalA1 Refereed journal article

  4. Violence and Neoliberal Governmentality

    Oksala, J. Sep 2011 In : Constellations. 18, 3, p. 474–486 13 p.

    Publication: Contribution to journalA1 Refereed journal article

  5. Feminist Experiences: Foucauldian and Phenomenological Investigations

    Oksala, J. 31 Jan 2016 Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. 192 p.

    Publication: Book/anthologyC1 Published scientific monograph

  6. Foucault, Politics, and Violence

    Oksala, J. 2012 Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. 189 p.

    Publication: Book/anthologyC1 Published scientific monograph

  7. Foucault on Freedom

    Oksala, J. 2005 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Modern European philosophy)

    Publication: Book/anthologyC1 Published scientific monograph

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