Nancy Bauer

Nancy Bauer

Philosopher selected as Radcliffe fellow

Nancy Bauer, assistant professor of philosophy, is spending the current academic year as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her scholarship involves the relationship between philosophical writing and everyday life.

Wary of the view that philosophers by training are better equipped than non-philosophers to weigh in on social issues, Bauer is specifically concerned with feminist philosophical method. Her Radcliffe Institute work will explore alternative feminist perspectives on pornography.

Bauer writes about how feminism as a political movement for social change might dovetail with a mode of thinking traditionally associated with abstraction and a search for timeless truths. In her first book, Simone de Beauvoir: Philosophy and Feminism (Columbia University Press, 2001), she argues that in de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, there is a model for making philosophy socially progressive without being simply applied.

During her fellowship year, Bauer will apply this model to an exploration of feminist philosophical interventions in debates over the phenomenon of pornography. She argues that other feminist philosophers have misconstrued this phenomenon because they have relied on conventional models and methods of philosophical analysis that are ill-suited to the issue.

Last spring, Bauer won Tufts' Undergraduate Initiative in Teaching Excellence Award and was chosen as professor of the year by Tufts' student senate. She holds a master of divinity degree in theological studies and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard.

Bauer is one of 51 individuals—including 12 scientists, 11 artists and writers, 19 humanities scholars and nine social scientists—selected as 2002-03 Radcliffe fellows.