Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young

Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young

Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young

Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young


Iris Marion Young was a world-renowned feminist moral and political philosopher whose many books and articles spanned more than three decades. She explored issues of social justice and oppression theory, the phenomenology of women's bodies, deliberative democracy and questions of terrorism, violence, international law and the role of the national security state. Her works have been of great interest to those both in the analytic and Continental philosophical tradition, and her roots range from critical theory (Habermas and Marcuse), and phenomenology (Beauvoir and Merleau Ponty) to post-structural psychoanalytic feminism (Kristeva and Ingaray). This anthology of writings aims to carry on the fruitful lines of thought she created and contains works by both well-known and younger authors who explore and engage critically with aspects of her work. The essays include personal remembrances as well as a last interview with Young about her work. The essays are organized into topic areas that are of interest to students in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, feminist theory, and political philosophy.


Ann Ferguson and Mechthild Nagel

In Homage to Iris Marion Young

Iris Marion Young was a brilliant, creative, and prolific political thinker, philosopher, and activist. Her career was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 57 in 2006, but her ideas and theories continue to be influential all over the world. Young has created compelling complex theories of justice, social oppression, gender, and democracy that combine insights from phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and critical theory in a unique way. Her achievement in successfully combining these approaches is all the more impressive since proponents of these various approaches have often presented them as inconsistent. in order to celebrate her unique vision and the many facets of her intellectual contributions to political thought and feminist philosophy, we undertook to create this anthology of writings about her work, including a hitherto unpublished recent interview with her that will document and deepen the understanding and spread of her ideas. in what follows, we will outline the important legacy of the major aspects of her work and show how the chapters we have already collected explore and develop these aspects in critical and interesting ways.

Both of us have benefited from knowing Iris as a friend, fellow activist for social justice, and feminist theorist. We both want to comment a bit on this from our own points of view.

Mechthild Nagel

Iris Marion Young was a mentor of many graduate students like me who participated in the Radical Philosophy Association (RPA), a role she took very seriously. At the first national conference of rpa at Des Moines, Iowa, 1994, I was . . .

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