Assistant Professor & Pre-Law Faculty Affiliate Advisor
About Professor Erlenbusch
Verena Erlenbusch (DPhil, 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 non-Western traditions to both examine pressing political issues and articulate normative strategies for transformation.
The primary focus of Verena's work concerns the historical formation of contemporary terrorism. Her book manuscript on this topic, titled 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 (under contract).
- "Critical Histories of the Present." Spindel Supplement to the Southern Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming).
- "Being a Foreigner in Philosophy: A Taxonomy." Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (forthcoming).
- "Modeling Inclusive Pedagogy: Five Approaches" with Luvell Anderson. Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (1), 2017, 6-19.
- "From Race War to Socialist Racism: Foucault's Second Transcription." Foucault Studies 22, 2017, 134-152.
- "Foucault's Sad Heterotopology of the Body." philoSOPHIA: A Journal in Continental Feminism 6 (2), 2016, 171-194.
- "Terrorism and Revolutionary Violence: The Emergence of Terrorism in the French Revolution." Critical Studies on Terrorism 8(2), 2015, 193-210.
- "How (Not) to Study Terrorism." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (4), 2014, 470-491.
- "The Place of Sovereignty: Mapping Power with Agamben, Butler, and Foucault," Critical Horizons 14 (2013): 44-69.
- "The Concept of Sovereignty in Contemporary Continental Political Philosophy," Philosophy Compass 7 (2012): 365-75.
- "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.
- "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. 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.
- "Genealogy as Philosophical Practice." Critical Genealogies Workshop. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. September 15-16, 2017.
- "Ways of Doing Genealogy: Inquiry after Foucault." A Group Interview with Verena Erlenbusch, Simon Ganahl, Robert W. Gehl, Thomas Nail, and Perry Zurn. Invited contribution for foucaultblog, June 7, 2016.
- "From Sovereignty to War: Foucault's Analytic of Power." Invited contribution for E-International Relations, December 12, 2015.
- "Neoliberalism and the Genealogy of Biopolitics." Invited contribution to a mini-series (with Johanna Oksala, Gordon Hull, and Thomas Nail) on Foucault and neoliberalism for An und für sich. An anomalous humanities blog, December 31, 2014.