Cressida J Heyes, PhD
Pronouns: they/them or she/her
Area of Study / Keywords
philosophy of gender and sexuality feminist philosophy philosophy of the body queer theory critical race theory trans studies medical humanities contemporary social and political theory
Cressida J. Heyes holds a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, as well as an MA in Political Science, and a PhD in Philosophy, both from McGill University. Dr. Heyes is currently Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, holds an HM Tory Chair, and is the past holder of the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality. For more information about their research interests and publications, visit http://cressidaheyes.com.
Cressida Heyes is the author of three monographs, most recently Anaesthetics of Existence: Essays on Experience at the Edge (Duke University Press, 2020), winner of the 2021 David Easton Award from the American Political Science Association, and finalist for the North American Social for Social Philosophy Book Award. The book argues that “experience” is a thoroughly political category, a social and historical product not authored by any individual. At the same time, “the personal is political,” and one's own lived experience is an important epistemic resource. Anaesthetics of Existence reconciles these two positions, drawing on examples of things that happen to us but are nonetheless excluded from experience. If for Foucault an “aesthetics of existence” was a project of making one's life a work of art, Heyes' “anaesthetics of existence” describes antiprojects that are tacitly excluded from life—but should be brought back in. Drawing on critical phenomenology, genealogy, and feminist theory, Heyes shows how and why experience has edges, and analyzes phenomena that press against those edges. Essays on sexual violence against unconscious victims, the temporality of drug use, and childbirth as a limit-experience build a politics of experience while showcasing Heyes' philosophical method.
Dr. Heyes is currently working on a SSHRC-funded project called "Sleep is the New Sex," which extends and moves beyond the work in Anaesthetics, to examine how representations of sleep are implicated with cultural anxieties and political struggles around gender, sexuality, work, leisure, and rest.
I have supervised or co-supervised doctoral and masters students in Philosophy, Political Science, English and Film Studies, and Nursing. I am open to supervising prospective graduate students who want to work in political philosophy, especially those with interests in gender, sexuality, and embodiment, and prospective projects that are interdisciplinary and eclectic.
As of July 1 2022, Dr. Heyes is serving as Chair of the Department of Political Science.