Marie-Eve Morin, DrPhil
Vice Dean, Faculty of Arts - Deans Office
- (780) 248-1115
6-5 Humanities Centre
11121 Saskatchewan Drive NWEdmonton ABT6G 2H5
Professor, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept
- By appointment
Area of Study / Keywords
Phenomenology Existentialism Jacques Derrida Maurice Merleau-Ponty deconstruction
I am originally from Quebec. I did my BA Honors in philosophy at McGill University and my doctorate at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Before coming to the U of A in 2007, I was an adjunct instructor at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, NY, and a visiting assistant professor at the University of Winnipeg.
My area of research is 20th-century continental philosophy. My primary focus is “post-structuralism” and “post-phenomenology” (Derrida, Levinas, Nancy) but I also have interests in existentialism and phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Sartre). My doctoral research dealt with questions of alterity, selfhood and community. My next research project sought to expand the problem of human relations toward questions of world and globalization. While working on this project, I have become more and more interested in the possibility of thinking emancipation and social justice in spatial/worldly terms rather than temporal/historical ones. I put this project on hold in 2011 to write an introduction to Jean-Luc Nancy's work for Polity Press. I am currently expanding on this research and working on an extensive comparative study of Merleau-Ponty and Nancy. Ultimately, I hope to be able to bring my interpretation of both thinkers to bear on the realism/idealism debate reopened by the speculative turn.
Most years, I teach a 400-500 level course in continental philosophy. Topics have included Heidegger's Being and Time, Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Luc Nancy, Derrida and Husserl, Heidegger and Politics, among others. At the undergraduate level, I teach PHIL 270, Political Philosophy regularly. I also sometimes teach PHIL 291, Existentialism and PHIL 272, Feminist Philosophy. In the past, I have taught Phil 392, Topics in Continental Philosophy and Phil 481, Topics in Philosophy and Literature.
I have also taught what we call the Supersection of PHIL 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Values and Society. Aside from lecturing twice a week, my responsibilities included mentoring and supervising the teaching assistants, who run Friday discussion sections. In 2013, I was awarded the Kathleen W. Klawe Prize for Excellence in Teaching Large Classes for this course. I was also interviewed by the Arts Pedagogy Research and Innovation Laboratory about my approach to teaching large classes. You can watch the interview here.
Research - Globalization, World and Spatial Justice
2007 to 2010
After my dissertation, my research turned, as an extension of my work on community, to the broader questions of world and globalization. My next research project situated itself at the intersection of the question of globalization (“what is happening with the world today?”) and the question of the ontology of the world (“what is the world?”). Two questions guided my research: (1) Should the “global world” be thought as uniformity (where the globe replaces the Ancient cosmos) or as fragmentation? (2) Is it possible (and desirable) to think of emancipation and of justice along spatial/worldy lines rather than temporal/historical ones? This led me to study Bruno Latour’s cosmo-politics, Peter Sloterdijk’s theory of spheres and history of globalization, Jean-François Lyotard’s idea of postmodernity and its relation to fluidity and capitalism, as well as recent discourses on the overcoming of postmodernity. I have also turned to Derrida’s concepts of differance as space-time and of the to-come (à-venir) as the spacing of time to develop of more complex understanding of space and time, and hence of world and history.
Research - Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy: Community without Fraternity
2002 to 2006
My doctoral research has dealt with the questions of alterity and community in contemporary French philosophy. My dissertation is an attempt to provide a phenomenological description that renders concrete the inherently paradoxical notion of a community of singularities, by means of the conceptual tools furnished by those two thinkers. The goal is to see what type of community is left for a philosophy that accentuates the singularity and absolute alterity of the other. To develop such a concept of community, I argue that it is not merely interesting but in every way necessary to read Derrida and Nancy alongside each other. Derrida, by putting into question the genealogical bonds inherent in the very notion of community, serves to frame the question, to which Nancy’s work can be read as a response. This dialogue can also be inversed. Derrida himself gives hints towards a new concept of community in his work on testimony, translation and the poem. Likewise, Nancy’s concept of community itself implicitly interrupts the genealogical bond, as is evident in his work on the interruption of the myth and the spatiality of exposition.
Research - SSHRC Insight Grant: "Turning Back the Speculative Turn: Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Luc Nancy at the Limits of Phenomenology"
2014 to 2017
This research project seeks to meet the charges leveled by the new speculative realist movement against phenomenology by means of a comparative study of Merleau-Ponty’s and Nancy’s work.
Speculative realism has challenged the way phenomenology came to terms with the realism/anti-realism debate. While classic realists assume that our thoughts give us access to the world as it is, anti-realists point out that we only ever have access to mental representations and hence can only speak of the world as it appears to us, not of the world as it is independently of us. Speculative realists name this anti-realist position “correlationism.” Correlationists have, according to them, given up on thinking “the real” or “the great Outdoors.” Speculative realists on the other hand look for a way of speculating (with the help of mathematics, for example) about this great Outdoors. Oddly enough, speculative realism shares with anti-realism the assumption of a divide between mind and world: we are stuck inside, we need to speculate about what’s outside. Before the speculative turn, phenomenology had sought to overcome this mind-world divide by appealing to everyday experience. At the same time, phenomenology falls prey to the speculative critique because it limits what can be talked about to what can be experienced by humans. My research seeks to take up the speculative challenge to correlationism by developing a concept of experience that respects the materiality and exteriority of what exists but without reinstating the mind-world divide.
I look to Merleau-Ponty and Nancy to meet this challenge because I don’t think that their respective positions are accounted for by the two extremes of correlationism and speculative realism. Indeed, both thinkers overcome the mind-world divide while proposing an experience of the real that is neither correlationist nor anthropocentric. For both Nancy and Merleau-Ponty, humans do not impose their own meaning on what exists, and thought is not the measure of the real. Rather, in the encounter with the real, there is exposition (Nancy) or intertwining (Merleau-Ponty) of the inside and the outside so that the relation between them becomes reversible.
My comparative study of Merleau-Ponty and Nancy centres on three areas of study: their respective reading of Descartes, their description of embodied existence, and their ontology of sense. Even though the similarities between both thinkers are wide-ranging, the hypothesis behind my research is that we still find a desire for unity in Merleau-Ponty’s thinking that has completely disappeared from Nancy’s ontology.
Edinburgh University Press. 2022 June;
Chiasmi International. 2020 May; 22
Marie-Eve Morin (ed.)
Chiasmi International. 2016 January; 18
Derrida Today. 2016 January; 9 (2):157–176
Philosophers in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching, ed S. Cahn, A.Bradner, and A. Mills.