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Bonnie J. Mann

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For me, philosophy is a practice of reflection on the world that we live in and our place in it. I work primarily in feminist philosophy, because it allows me to explore questions like these:  What does it mean to be woman?  Who has the power or authority to decide what it means to be a woman and how did they get it? What does it mean to be a man? Why? How are those meanings worked on in our bodies, our image-world, our language and the material relations that structure our lives at every level?  What is freedom and what is justice when it comes to gender and/or sexual difference? How is gender made, meaning literally, how is it produced? These are the driving questions in both my research and my teaching.

Open Letter to Lierre Keith -- here.

What does Bonnie Mann think about sexual harassment? Read “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies: Four Theses on Men and Sexual Harassment” here.

What does Bonnie Mann think about the nature/culture question in feminism? Read “What Should Feminists Do about Nature?” here:

What does Bonnie Mann think about gender and nationalism? Read “Gender Apparatus: Lessons from the War on Terror” here.

What does Bonnie Mann think about vampires? Read “Vampire Love: The Second Sex Negotiates the 21st Century” here.


Broadly speaking, my research is in feminist philosophy and modern and contemporary continental philosophy. Probably because of my many years working as an activist in the women’s movement, I am concerned with how gendered power is lived socially and politically: in the body, in language, in the imaginary life of communities, and in the capitalist nation-state. My work in feminist philosophy draws on phenomenology, poststructuralism and feminist materialism, as I think a viable account of gendered experience and gendered power must address multiple structures of human existence. I teach and am especially engaged with the work of Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, and Judith Butler. Other figures, however, are also central to my research, including Merleau-Ponty, Marx, Hegel, and Kant.

My first book was an examination of the impact of poststructuralism on feminist politics entitled Women’s Liberation and the Sublime: Feminism, Postmodernism, Environment. I am currently at work on a book entitled Gender: Lessons from the War on Terror

I am the faculty advisor for the feminist philosophy RIG [].


PhD in Philosophy                                        2002    State University of New York at Stony Brook

  • Doctoral Dissertation: Feminism and the Sublime
  • Winner of the 2002 Stony Brook University President’s Distinguished Dissertation Award
  • Committee: Eva Feder Kittay (Director), Edward S. Casey, Lorenzo Simpson, Geraldine Moane

BA in Philosophy (cum laude)                       1983    Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

High School Diploma (Valedictorian)             1979    Powder Valley High School, North Powder, Oregon


I teach courses in feminist philosophy at all levels, and on figures such as Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, and Judith Butler. In 2013, I received the William’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award, largely for my work teaching 340 undergraduate students each year in my Philosophy of Love and Sex course, a very popular large lecture course which I teach each spring [link to William’s Council Award announcement and Emerald Article about Love and Sex course].  At the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels I teach a variety of courses that are designed to help students think about gender, sex and sexuality often in relation to questions of ethics, social justice, politics and power.

Course Links

Spring 2019
PHIL 170 Love and Sex

Winter 2020
PHIL 315 Introduction to Feminist Philosophy
PHIL 463/563 20th-Century Philosophers: Arendt


Spring 2020
PHIL 170 Love and Sex
PHIL 643 Feminist Philosophy: Feminist Phenomenological and French Materialist



Sovereign Masculinity:  Gender Lessons from the War on Terror (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Women’s Liberation and the Sublime:  Feminism, Postmodernism, Environment.  (Oxford University Press, 2006).  Winner of the 2007 Gustav O. Arlt award for outstanding scholarship in the humanities from the national Council of Graduate Schools.

Articles and Book Chapters

2014. Invited Contribution. “American Exceptionalism:  The Gender Factor.” E-International Relations.

2013.  “Three White Men Walk into a Bar:  Philosophy’s Pluralism,” in Radical Philosophy Review 16(3), pp.

2012.  “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies:  Four Theses on Men and Sexual Harassment,” in The American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, issue on Sexual Harassment, edited by Margaret Crouch.

2012. Invited Contribution.  “Gender as Justification in Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe.” Sapere Aude: Journal of Philosophy, vol. 3, n. 6 (2012) Pontifíca Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Brazil.

2011.  Invited Contribution. “Töten, um zu siegen” (“National Manhood in Post-9/11/2001 USA.” ) Kulturaustauch. The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations ifa and ConBrio. Reprinted in Kramfader:  Frauen Lesben Zeitschrift, 2012.

2011. “Gender Apparatus:  Torture and National Manhood in the U.S. War on Terror,” in Radical Philosophy: A Journal of Socialist and Feminist Philosophy, v. 168, July/August 2011; translated into German by  Regine Othmer as “Ein Geschlechterapparat: Folter und nationale Männlichkeit im „Krieg gegen den Terror“ der USA, published in Feministische Studien 30. Jahrgang, Nov. 2012, No. 2.

2010.  “What Should Feminists do About Nature?”  in Konturen:  Online German Studies Journal

2009. “Vampire Love:  The Second Sex Negotiates the 21st Century,” in Twilight and Philosophy:  Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality, edited by Rebecca Housel and JeremyWisnewski.  Blackwell Press. Philosophy and Popular Culture Series. Excerpted in The Philosopher’s Magazine, Issue 47, 4th Quarter, 2009. Reprinted in Introducing Philosophy through Popular Culture, ed. by William Irwin and David Kyle Johnson, Wiley-Blackwell 2010.

2009. “Iris Marion Young:  Between Phenomenology and Structural Injustice,” for Dancing with Iris:  Festschrift, edited by Ann Ferguson and Mecke Nagel. Oxford University Press.

2008.  “Beauvoir and the Question of a Women’s Point of View.”  Philosophy Today.  Summer.

2007.  “The Lesbian June Cleaver:  Heterosexism and Lesbian Mothering,” in Against Heterosexualism:  Overcoming Heterosexual Normativity and Defeating Heterosexist Bigotry, a special issue of Hypatia, edited by Joan Callahan, Sara Ruddick and Bonnie Mann. Volume 22, number 1 (Winter 2007).



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