Cressida J Heyes

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Political Science Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - Political Science Dept
(780) 492-9970



Born and raised in England, Cressida Heyes was educated at Banbury Comprehensive School and the United World College of the Atlantic. She holds a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, an MA in Political Science, and a PhD in Philosophy, both from McGill University. She worked briefly in the US as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University, before moving to the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, in 1999. She is currently Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, and the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality, as well as past winner of both the Faculty of Arts Research Excellence Award and the Undergraduate Teaching Award. In 2008 she received the Rutherford Award for excellence in teaching--the University of Alberta's highest teaching prize. She became a Canadian citizen in 2005 but still maintains active links with the UK, where all her family of origin remain. For more information about her research interests and publications, visit


In 2011 I won a SSHRC research grant for my latest book project, now coming to completion: Anaesthetics of Existence: Essays on Experience in its Absence. This research is centrally concerned with how bodily needs and practices are worked into governance–both of the self, and of the polity. I am interested in how contemporary practices of work organization shape our lived experience of time and our own agency, and in how various techniques of the self are used to escape this experience. Part of this work involves investigating the management of sleep, and the way that sleep–as a limit on agency and a suspension of time–has been metaphorically and literally deployed as a tool of and mode of resistance to biopower. It also involves theorizing the significance of those experiences not allowed to count as such; the two examples I've written about as embodied undergoings that are especially difficult to think are the rape of unconscious victims, and childbirth.


In Winter 2016 I’ll be co-teaching a large section of POLS 212 (Contemporary Political Theory). This new course replaces POLS 210 (which used to be a required one-year course for all Political Science majors, introducing them to political theory). I’ll be teaching with my colleagues David Kahane and Catherine Kellogg and we’re lining up some amazing content and a really good class experience. Stay tuned! Updates about the course will be posted at: and as of November 1 2015 there are still a few seats left in the classroom.

In conjunction with POLS 212 we are also offering POLS 610, which is a doctoral seminar in Political Theory required for all Political Science PhD students specializing in the field, but available to other MA and PhD students too. Note that this class will meet MW 10-1050 (graduate students attend undergraduate lectures) and then FRIDAY 11-1220 (graduate-only seminar).


In November you'll be able to access the on-line publication of my essay "Dead to the World: Rape, Unconsciousness, and Social Media," in the journal Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society


POL S 305 - Contemporary Political Theory

Focuses on struggles over citizenship, the self, and social justice through the work of theorists like Arendt, Beauvoir, Freud, Fanon, Foucault, Rawls, and Tully. Prerequisite: POL S 210 or 211 or 212 or consent of Department.

Fall Term 2020
POL S 404 - Topics in Political Theory

A variable content course, which may be repeated if topics vary. Prerequisite: One of POL S 211, 212 (or 210) or Department consent.

Fall Term 2020

Browse more courses taught by Cressida J Heyes


Critical Concepts: Gender and Philosophy
Author(s): Cressida J. Heyes, ed.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Routledge
Volume: 1-4
External Link:
Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer
Author(s): Cressida J. Heyes, Meredith Jones. ed
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Ashgate Press
External Link:
Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies
Author(s): Cressida J. Heyes
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: Oxford University Press
External Link:
The Grammar of Politics: Wittgenstein and Political Philosophy
Author(s): Cressida J. Heyes, ed.
Publication Date: 2003
Publication: Cornell University Press
External Link:
Line Drawings: Defining Women through Feminist Practice
Author(s): Cressida J. Heyes
Publication Date: 2000
Publication: Cornell University Press
External Link: