Verena Erlenbusch

Verena Erlenbusch

Assistant Professor & Pre-Law Faculty Affiliate Advisor

305 Clement Hall
Office Hours
MW 11.30am-12.30pm, and by appointment

About Professor Erlenbusch

Verena Erlenbusch (DPhil, Social and Political Thought, University of Sussex) joined the department in 2013. Before coming to Memphis, she taught at St. Mary's University and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. In spring and summer 2011, she was a Visiting Scholar at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Verena is a critical theorist who draws on resources in Political Philosophy, Contemporary European Philosophy, and adjacent disciplines to both examine pressing political issues and articulate normative strategies for political transformation.

The primary focus of Verena's work concerns the historical formation of contemporary terrorism. Her forthcoming book, Genealogies of Terrorism: Revolution, State Terror, Empire, argues that questions about what terrorism is and why it is wrong are the wrong questions to ask if we aim to engage in meaningful debate about terrorism. Offering an important corrective to attempts to develop canonical definitions, assure semantic consistency, and provide normative certainty, the book offers an empirically grounded and philosophically rigorous examination of what we do when we name something terrorism. Tracing discourses and practices of terrorism since their emergence in late-eighteenth century France, Verena shows that terrorism means many different things and is put to a wide range of political uses depending on the concrete context in which it is deployed.

Verena is also interested in questions of philosophical methodology, the relationship between genealogy and normativity, and meta-philosophical questions about diversity and inclusiveness.

Verena regularly teaches courses in Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Law, and she offers Fresh Connections section of PHIL 1102: Values in the Modern World for Pre-Law, Social Justice, and Tigers Without Borders learning communities. She has also taught courses on the history of sovereignty, Foucault and race, Critical Race Theory, Kafka and German-Jewish Philosophy, Kafka and American Criminal Justice, and the metaphysics of sex and gender.

Verena serves as the pre-law Faculty Affiliate Advisor for the Philosophy Department. She is also affiliated with the Center for Research on Women and the International Studies Program.

You can read an APA member interview with Verena here.

Recent & Forthcoming Publications


  • Genealogies of Terrorism: Revolution, State Terror, Empire (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Edited volumes

  • Spindel Supplement: Critical Histories of the Present. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (S1), 2017.

Peer-reviewed articles

  1. "Being a Foreigner in Philosophy: A Taxonomy." Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/hypa.12377.
  2. "Modeling Inclusive Pedagogy: Five Approaches" with Luvell Anderson. Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (1), 2017, 6-19.
  3. "From Race War to Socialist Racism: Foucault's Second Transcription." Foucault Studies 22, 2017, 134-152.
  4. "Foucault's Sad Heterotopology of the Body." philoSOPHIA: A Journal in Continental Feminism 6 (2), 2016, 171-194.
  5. "Terrorism and Revolutionary Violence: The Emergence of Terrorism in the French Revolution." Critical Studies on Terrorism 8(2), 2015, 193-210.
  6. "How (Not) to Study Terrorism." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (4), 2014, 470-491.
  7. "The Place of Sovereignty: Mapping Power with Agamben, Butler, and Foucault," Critical Horizons 14 (2013): 44-69.
  8. "The Concept of Sovereignty in Contemporary Continental Political Philosophy," Philosophy Compass 7 (2012): 365-75.

Book chapters

  1. "Foucault und die Realitätsbedingungen leiblicher Erfahrung" (Foucault and the Conditions of Existence of Embodied Experience). In Leib - Körper - Politik, edited by Thomas Bedorf and Tobias Klass. Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2015.
  2. "Terrorism: Knowledge, Power, Subjectivity," in Critical Methods in Terrorism Studies, edited by Jacob Stump and Priya Dixit. Routledge, 2015, 108-120.

Recent & Upcoming Presentations

  • TBD. Invited talk on a panel organized by the APA Committee on International Cooperation. Central APA, Chicago, IL. February 21-24, 2018.
  • TBD. Keynote talk (with Luvell Anderson). Symposium. Rice University, Houston, TX. January 26-27, 2018.
  • "Genealogy and the Coloniality of Power." 56th Meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Memphis, TN. October 19-21, 2017.
  • "Philosophy following Foucault." Critical Genealogies Workshop. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. September 15-16, 2017.

Other Publications