Amy R. Allen
Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College, NH (USA)
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:May−July 2010, April−August 2012
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»The Force of Reason«
I am working on a book project tentatively entitled The Force of Reason: The Philosophical Foundations of Critical Theory. I'm interested in tracing the tension between power and reason in major works of the Frankfurt School critical theory tradition, from Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment to the works of Jürgen Habermas and Axel Honneth. My thesis is that the attempt to hold open this tension is what makes Critical Theory methodologically unique, and distinct from ideal theory, on the one hand, and empirical or realistic approaches to thinking about politics, on the other hand. But I also argue that recent trends in Critical Theory focus too much on reason at the expense of giving a satisfactory analysis of power and power's inevitable entanglements with reason, entanglements that are especially important to theorize once reason is understood as a social or discursive practice. For a corrective to this tendency to drift toward ideal theory, I'm interested in recovering certain themes from the Dialectic of Enlightenment, and connecting these themes to the work of Michel Foucault. In particular, I am focusing on two interrelated themes: the relationship between power, reason, and history in the philosophies of history that provide the normative underpinning for different approaches to Critical Theory, and the relationship between power, reason, irrationality and subjectivity as this is thematized in the encounter between Critical Theory and psychoanalysis. (Amy R. Allen)
Research partner:Professor Allen’s stay is supported by a scholarship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She is guest of Professor Axel Honneth, Professor of Philosophy at Goethe University, and works as guest researcher at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.In 2012, she follows an invitation of Professor Rainer Forst. Her stay is then supported by the Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Foundation.
Scholarly profile of Amy R. Allen Update 2016: Amy Allen is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Philosophy and head of the Philosophy Department at Pennsylvania State University.
Please find more information about Amy Allen here.
Main areas of research:20th century European philosophy, social and political theory, feminist theory, Critical Theory, psychoanalysis
- The End of Progress. Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory, New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
- The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory, New York: Columbia University Press 2008.
- The Power of Feminist Theory: Domination, Resistance, Solidarity, Boulder, CO: Westview Press 1999.
Articles and Book Chapters:
- »Having One’s Cake and Eating It, Too: Habermas’s Genealogy of Post-Secular Reason«, in: Habermas and Religion, ed. Eduardo Mendieta, Craig Calhoun, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Cambridge (UK): Polity Press 2011. (forthcoming)
- »Power, Autonomy, and Gender: A Reply to Critics« (reply to three critics, discussing my book The Politics of Our Selves), in: The Diversity of Social Theories, volume 29 of Current Perspectives in Social Theory, ed. Harry Dahms, Bingley: Emerald Publishing Group 2011, pp. 131-144. (forthcoming)
- »Foucault and the Politics of Our Selves«, in: History of the Human Sciences, vol. 24,4 (2011), pp. 43-60. (forthcoming)
- »Third Generation Critical Theory: Benhabib, Fraser, and Honneth« in: The History of Continental Philosophy, vol. 7: Post-Poststructuralism, ed. Rosi Braidotti, Durham: Acumen Press 2010.
- »The Entanglement of Power and Validity: Foucault and Critical Theory«, in: Foucault and Philosophy, ed. Timothy O’Leary and Christopher Falzon, London: Blackwell 2010.
- »Recognizing Domination: Recognition and Power in Honneth’s Social Theory«, in: Journal of Power, vol. 3,1 (2010), pp. 21-32.
- »Postmodernism, Dekonstruktivism, and Poststrukturalism«, in: Habermas Handbuch, ed. Hauke Brunkhorst, Regina Kreide, and Cristina Lafont, Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler 2009.
- »Feminism and the Subject of Politics«, in: New Waves in Political Theory, ed. Christopher Zurn and Boudewijn de Bruin, London: Palgrave Macmillan Press 2009.
- »Discourse, Power, and Subjectivation: The Foucault/Habermas Debate Reconsidered«, in: The Philosophical Forum, vol. 40,1 (2009), pp. 1-28.
- »Power and the Politics of Difference: Oppression, Empowerment, and Transnational Justice«, in: Hypatia: Journal of Feminist Philosophy, vol. 23,3 (2008), pp. 156-172.