I work primarily through the critical traditions of Pragmatism and Genealogy, with an eye toward using methods and concepts from these two traditions to engage current issues in politics, ethics, and culture. I always attempt to challenge myself (and my collaborators and students) to practice philosophy through a style of pluralism that draws widely on diverse figures, traditions, disciplines, and themes. Thus I have sought to develop an understanding of a range of figures across pragmatism (James, Du Bois, Dewey, Rorty, Brandom) and genealogy (Foucault, Nietzsche, Williams), as well as other thinkers in the 'Continental' (Deleuze, Habermas, Latour) and 'Analytic' (Wittgenstein, Cavell, Rawls) traditions (and I would insist that the scarequotes are needed in both instances). I also aim to make use of work developed in other disciplinary contexts by historians, anthropologists, political scientists, legal theorists, and information scientists.
I am currently working on a few related research projects, all of which are in their early stages:
- The Informational Person. This project focuses on the overlay between information and politics as mediated by a form of subjectivity emergent in the twentieth century. Research for this work has taken me into the early years of scientific personality psychology (ca. 1917-1937), the racialization of real estate appraisal practices in America (ca. 1923-1934), and the history of identification paperwork. For early previews of what is motivating this work see my article on 'infopolitics' in the New York Times or read "A Philosopher Ponders the Virtual Public Sphere" in UO's CASCade magazine. For an early presentation of some of the first rounds of this work see my talk "New Media, New Power?" at the University of Utah.
- Genealogy and Pragmatism as Method. This project involves thinking through what role philosophy can assume for itself after the end, or at least waning, of metaphysics. One aspect of this project could be titled "Method without Metaphysics" in that I aim to rethink philosophy as methodology (or a way of proceeding) in the context of what Habermas calls "postmetaphysical thinking" as a general sign of our philosophical present (stretching from Habermas to Rorty to Foucault). A second aspect of this project, concerned with post-foundational accounts of normativity as examined by an analytics of practices, could be titled "Authority without Authoritarianism".
- Philosophy as Cultural Critique. A longer-term project involves a series of articles (that will maybe become something else later) on what I am calling "cultural critical philosophy." This project aims to bring into focus an engaged conception of philosophy exhibited in diverse traditions and figures in the history of philosophical thought. A central part of this project involves a patient elaboration of a conception of cultural critical philosophy as an articulation of the drift of a wide number of contemporary trends in our discipline. This project also finds its way into project-based experiments I undertake in my undergraduate teaching.
- My first book Pragmatism as Transition was published by Columbia University Press in 2009. A review symposium will be forthcoming in Contemporary Pragmatism in light of the book's republication in paperback.
- My second book Genealogy as Critique was published by Indiana University Press in 2013. See the review essay symposium in Foucault Studies, no. 18 for some of its reception.
Articles and Other Publications
- I have summarized some of the key ideas in my two books in a précis article titled "Genealogical Pragmatism" in which I also map out future research(es).
- Among my most recent publications are a pair of companion papers in Critical Inquiry (in the Summer 2013 issue) and in Constellations (in the December 2015 issue).
- I have published articles in such journals as Philosophy & Social Criticism, Metaphilosophy, The Review of Metaphysics, The Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Contemporary Pragmatism, Foucault Studies, and elsewhere.
- I have worked on three editorial projects: a special issue on interdisciplinary uses of Foucault (in History of the Human Sciences), another issue on Foucault and Pragmatism (published in Foucault Studies), and a co-edited volume on Rorty and cultural critical philosophy (published by Bloomsbury [formerly Continuum]).
- For further details, please visit my regularly updated website where you will find a complete list of publications (and links) as well as information on courses I regularly teach: http://www.uoregon.edu/~koopman/.
PHIL 641 Political Theory