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Beata Stawarska

Beata Stawarska profile picture
  • Title: Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Office: 247 Susan Campbell Hall
  • Office Hours: 1:00-1:50pm Tuesdays and Thursdays during Fall 2015
  • Interests: Contemporary European Philosophy, Phenomenology, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, Philosophical Psychology, Feminism
  • Curriculum Vitae


My primary research interests revolve around problems of sociality, embodiment, gender, and language. I approach these questions by drawing on a number of philosophical traditions (phenomenology, structuralism and post-structuralism, feminism, the dialogical tradition), and I seek to combine reflective and empirical approaches whenever possible. I especially engage contemporary authors such as Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Beauvoir, Buber and Levinas, J. L. Austin, Derrida, Bourdieu, Kristeva, Irigaray, Butler, and most recently, the philosophy of language by Ferdinand de Saussure.

As a recipient of the 2009-11 Humboldt fellowship for advanced researchers at the U. of Heidelberg, Germany, I completed my second book: Saussure's Philosophy of Language as Phenomenology. Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics (Oxford UP, 2015).


Saussure's Philosophy of Language as Phenomenology

Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics

Beata Stawarska


This book draws on recent developments in research on Ferdinand de Saussure's general linguistics to challenge the structuralist doctrine associated with the posthumous Course in General Linguistics (1916) and to develop a new philosophical interpretation of Saussure's conception of language based solely on authentic source materials. This project follows two new editorial paradigms: 1. a critical re-examination of the 1916 Course in light of the relevant sources and 2. a reclamation of the historically authentic materials from Saussure's Nachlass, some of them recently discovered. In Stawarska's book, this editorial paradigm shift serves to expose the difficulties surrounding the official Saussurean doctrine with its sets of oppositional pairings: the signifier and the signified; la langue and la parole; synchrony and diachrony. The book therefore puts pressure not only on the validity of the posthumous editorial redaction of Saussure's course in general linguistics in the Course, but also on its structuralist and post-structuralist legacy within the works of Levi-Strauss, Lacan, and Derrida. Its constructive contribution consists in reclaiming the writings from Saussure's Nachlass in the service of a linguistic phenomenology, which intersects individual expression in the present with historically sedimented social conventions. Stawarska develops such a conception of language by engaging Saussure's own reflections with relevant writings by Hegel, Husserl, Roman Jakobson, and Merleau-Ponty. Finally, she enriches her philosophical critique with a detailed historical account of the material and institutional processes that led to the ghostwriting and legitimizing the Course as official Saussurean doctrine.






In my first book: Between You and I: Dialogical Phenomenology (Ohio UP, 2009), I developed a sustained argument for the primacy of interpersonal connectedness in the I-you mode. I drew on the disciplines of sociolinguistics, especially Benveniste, developmental psychology, and the dialogic tradition in philosophy, especially Buber, Rosenzweig, and Rosenstock-Huessy, to put pressure on an attachment to subjective consciousness in classical phenomenology, and the resulting difficulties in thematizing social relations. Sociolinguistic, developmental and dialogic perspectives highlight the phenomenological importance of the addressee, the inseparability of I and You, and the nature of the alternation between them. Taken together, these contributions make a strong case for the primacy of I-You connectedness and foreground the dialogic dimension of both prediscursive and discursive experience. Between You and I suggests that phenomenology is best practiced in a dialogical engagement with other disciplines. It also spells out some implications of a dialogic approach for feminism and politics.
In my earlier work, I engaged the phenomenological approaches of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty in a constructive dialogue with psychological studies of social development, notably relative to the so-called mirror stage, and mimicry of facial gestures in infancy. I also pursued the problem of the imagination and memory in Sartre’s phenomenology, and traced the complex, philosophical and empirical, heritage of his theory.  




Saussure's Philosophy of Language as Phenomenology. Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics. Oxford UP, 2015 (304pp).
Between You and I: Dialogical Phenomenology. Ohio UP, 2009 (240pp.).


Selected Articles  and book chapters


 2015. Strange Life of a Sentence: Saussurean Doctrine and its Discontents. Philosophy Today, Vol. 59: 2, 355-366.

2015. Feminist Phenomenology. Philosophy Compass (forthcoming).

 2015. Derrida and Saussure on Entrainment and Contamination. Shifting the Paradigm from the Course to the Nachlass. Continental Philosophy Review, Vol. 48, 297-312.

2015. Unhappy Speech, and Hearing Well. Feminist Speech Act Theory and Phenomenology. Future Directions of Feminist Phenomenology. Ed. Helen Fielding and Dorothea Olkowski, Indiana UP (forthcoming).

2015. Linguistic Encounters: the Performativity of Active Listening. Body/Self/Other: The Phenomenology of Social Encounters. Ed. Luna Dolezal and Danielle Petherbridge, SUNY Press (forthcoming).

2015. Language as Poeisis. Unexpected Alliances between Saussure and Kristeva. New Forms of Revolt: Kristeva's Intimate Politics. Ed. Kelly Oliver, SUNY Press (forthcoming).

2013. 'Uncanny Errors, Productive Contresens. Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenological Appropriation of Ferdinand de Saussure's General Linguistics'. CHIASMI International, 15, 151-165.

2013. Sartre and Husserl's Ideen: Phenomenology and Imagination. Sartre – Key Concepts. Ed. Jack Reynolds and Steve Churchill. Acumen Press.

2010. Mutual Gaze and Intersubjectivity. Handbook of Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. D. Schmicking and S. Gallagher (eds). Springer, 269-282.

2009. Dialogue at the Limit of Phenomenology. CHIASMI International, 11, 145-156.

2009. Merleau-Ponty and Sartre in Response to Cognitive Studies of Intersubjectivity. Philosophy Compass, 4:2, 312-328.

2008. Feeling Good Vibrations in Dialogical Relations. Continental Philosophy Review, 41:2, 217-236.

2008. You and IHere and Now. Spatial and Social Connectedness in Deixis. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 16:4, 399-418.

2008. Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis. Merleau-Ponty – Key Concepts. R. Diprose and J. Reynolds (eds). Acumen Press, 57-69.

2007. Seeing Faces. Sartre and Imitation Studies. Sartre Studies International, 13:2, 27-46.

2007. Persons, Pronouns, and Perspectives. Linguistic and Developmental Contributions to Dialogical Phenomenology. Folk Psychology Reassessed. M. Ratcliffe and J. Hutto (eds). Springer, 79-99.

2006. Mutual Gaze and Social Cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 5:1, 17-30.
2006. From the Body Proper to Flesh: Merleau-Ponty on Intersubjectivity. Feminist Interpretations of Merleau-Ponty. Penn StateUniversity Press. D. Olkowski and G. Weiss (eds), 91-106.

2005. Defining Imagination. Sartre between Husserl and Janet. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 4:2, 133-153.

2004. Merleau-Ponty in Dialogue with the Cognitive Sciences in Light of Recent Imitation Research.Philosophy Today, 47:5, 89-99.
2004. Anonymity and Sociality. The Convergence of Psychological and Philosophical Currents in Merleau-Ponty's Ontological Theory of Intersubjectivity. CHIASMI International, 5, 295-309.

2004. The Body, the Mirror and the Other in Merleau-Ponty and Sartre. Ipseity and Alterity: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Intersubjectivity. Presses Universitaires de Rouen. S. Gallagher and S. Watson (eds),  175-186.
2003. Facial Embodiment in 'Invisible' Imitation. Theoria et Historia Scientiarum: International Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies, 7:1, 139-162.
2002. Memory and Subjectivity: Sartre in Dialogue with Husserl. Sartre Studies International, 8:2, 94-111.
2002. Reversibility and Intersubjectivity in Merleau-Ponty's Ontology. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 33:2, 155-166.
2001. Pictorial Representation or Subjective Scenario? Sartre on Imagination. Sartre Studies International, 7:2, 87-111.



Member of the Board of Advisors: Association for Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 

Book Review Editor: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.

Co-director: Society for Interdisciplinary Feminist Phenomenology.


My teaching interests lie in the area of phenomenology, philosophy of mind and philosophical psychology, including the philosophy of psychoanalysis, feminist philosophy, the dialogic tradition in philosophy, deconstruction, modern philosophy and metaphysics.

I have taught author courses on Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Levinas, Freud, Derrida, and Berkeley.

Courses offered at the University of Oregon:

Philosophical Psychology
Philosophy of Mind
Author: Merleau-Ponty
Author: Sartre
Author: Berkeley
Author: Derrida
Author: Levinas
History of Modern Philosophy
Human Nature
Feminist Philosophy
Feminist Phenomenology
Philosophy of Dialogue
The Dialogic Tradition

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