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Penelope Deutscher

Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor

PhD, University of NSW
Curriculum Vitae

Penelope Deutscher specializes in twentieth-century and contemporary French philosophy, and in gender and sexuality studies. Current projects are focused on the intersections of biopolitics, reproductive futurism, and the genealogy of gendered rights claims . Her most recent publications are Foucault’s Futures: A Critique of Reproductive Reason and two co-edited collections, Foucault/Derrida: Fifty Years On (co-edited with Olivia Custer and Samir Haddad) and Critical Theory in Critical Times (co-edited with Cristina Lafont), with Columbia University Press.

She is also the author of Yielding Gender: Feminism, Deconstruction and the History of Philosophy (Routledge 1997); A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray (Cornell University Press, 2002), How to Read Derrida (Granta/Norton 2006), and The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Ambiguity, Conversion, Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

She previously co-edited with Kelly Oliver of Enigmas: Essays on Sarah Kofman (Cornell University Press, 1999), and, with Françoise Collin of Repenser le politique: l'apport du féminisme, an anthology of French translations of contemporary Anglo-American women political philosophers (Paris: Campagne première /Les cahiers du grif, 2004.). She also guest edited for Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy the special issue 'Contemporary French Women Philosophers' (15:4, 2000).

She has been awarded a Senior Fellowship by the I.F.K. (Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften) Vienna, and a V.I.P (Visiting International Professorship) at the University of Bochum, where she held the Marie-Jahoda Visiting Chair in International Gender Studies in 2013. She has also been the recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship, a Distinguished Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, UK, a N.S.W. Residency Expatriate Scientists Award at the University of Sydney, and an (A.R.C.) Australian Research Council Large Grant, She is currently Associate Director of Northwestern’s Critical Theory Cluster. In this capacity she is co-investigator, with Judith Butler, of a new project awarded funding in 2015 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish the International Consortium for Critical Theory Programs.


Books Edited

Guest/Special Issue Editor

  • Guest editor of Contemporary French Women Philosophers, special issue of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 15, 4 (2000).

Selection of recent and representative Articles

  • “Recastings: On Alison Stone's Luce Irigaray and the Philosophy of Sexual Difference,"differences, a journal of feminist cultural studies 19.3, 139—149.
  • “The Inversion of Exceptionality: Foucault, Agamben and “Reproductive Rights,” South Atlantic Quarterly 107, 1 (2007): 55-70.
  • “Women, and so on”: Derrida's Rogues and the Auto-Immunity of Feminism, Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 11, 1 (2007): 101-119.
  • "Autobiobodies: Nietzsche and the Life-blood of the Philosopher,"  Parallax 11: 3 (2005): 28-39.
  • "Loving the Impossible: Derrida, Rousseau and the Politics of Perfectibility," in Steve Daniels (ed) Current Continental Theory and Modern Philosophy, Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 2005: 223-239.
  • "Vulnerability and Metamorphosis: Beauvoir and Nancy on Embodiment and Aging,"differences a journal of feminist cultural studies  16: 2 (2005): 61-87.
  • "Derrida's Impossible Genealogies," Theory and Event , 8 (1) (2005)
  • "Enemies and Reciprocities," MLN 119, 4 (2004): 656-671.
  • "Beauvoir's Old Age ," in C. Card (ed .) The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003: 286-304.
  • "Already Weeping: Deconstruction, Immigration, Colonialism,"  Studies in Practical Philosophy , (special issue: "Race and Justice in the Post-Colonial Setting"), 3, 1 (2003): 5-21.
  • "Pardon?: Sarah Kofman and Jacques Derrida (On Mourning, Debt and Seven Friendships)," Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology   31, 1 (2000): 21-35.
  • "'Is It Not Remarkable That Nietzsche... Should Have Hated Rousseau?' Woman, Femininity: Distancing Nietzsche From Rousseau," in Nietzsche, Feminism and Political.


  • Special section: Interviews conducted by P. Deutscher with Claude Imbert, Monique David-Ménard and Barbara Cassin (and introduction by P. Deutscher), Women's Philosophy Review, 24, (2000): 19-72.
  • "Interview: Michèle le Doeuff," Hypatia 15, 4 ( 2000): 236-242 .