Jina Fast

SHIFT Assistant Professor of Applied Ethics and the Common Good
Dr. Jina Fast holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and women's and gender studies from Temple University. As a feminist epistemologist, queer theorist, and critical philosopher of race, her work centers theories produced by and through the experiences and work of marginalized folks across disciplines. Dr. Fast's work has been published in the Journal of Critical Race InquiryAtlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, & Social Justice, and Hypatia among others. Currently, she is at work on two books. Her first book, titled Decolonizing Existentialism and Phenomenology: The Liberation of Philosophies of Freedom and Identity, will be published in December 2023 by Rowman and Littlefield International, while her second, an edited collection titled The Marcusean Mind, will be published in August 2024.

In Decolonizing Existentialism and Phenomenology, Dr. Fast analyzes the history of decolonial existentialist and phenomenological theory in the work of figures such as Simone de Beauvoir, Richard Wright, Franz Fanon, Lewis Gordon, Audre Lorde, Sylvia Wynter, and Jamaica Kincaid to reimagine and rewrite the philosophical canon. Phenomenology and existentialism study the structures of consciousness as experienced from the perspective of the subject, yet their methods have been markedly tied to the subjective lived experiences and perspectives of White Europeans and Americans. By centering the experiences of peoples of the African diaspora, gender marginalized people, and queer peoples, Africana existentialist and phenomenologist philosophers in the 20th and 21st centuries have been able to generate new frameworks for understanding structures of meaning and consciousness within oppressive colonial orders, thus challenging histories of existentialism and phenomenology that bracket social markers of identity and experiences of social identity. This text represents a study of philosophers seeking to decolonize hegemonic discourses and structures that impede the development of the selves and projects of colonized peoples.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • Since Plato, "Beauty" has proven to be a crucial topic in western philosophy. Philosophers across the supposed western/eastern divide have sought to address numerous questions surrounding the topic: what is beauty, what distinguishes and constitutes it, who can create it, who can discern and appreciate it? Is it subjective or objective? We will consider a variety of other critical questions via thinkers across disciplines such as: what is the point in creating art? Who or what is it for? What is its desired or intended impact on the audience? What are the germs of creativity, or what is the critical environment for its emergence? Is creativity and artistic inspiration an individual privilege, or can it be shared broadly in society, or in a community? What is the political role or place of the artist and his/her work? How do politics shape artistic representation? And finally, is the relationship of beauty and art in contemporary aesthetics dead? Keywords:Aesthetics, Philosophy of Art, Ethics, Feminist Theory

  • Examines through a philosophical approach to representational theory the ways in which gender marginalized and gender diverse individuals and groups represent themselves, their bodies, and their power. In particular, the course explores why women and other gender-marginalized/diverse groups engage in self-representation, and what strategies they have used to reject or revise controlling images and stereotypes. Considerable focus will be placed upon the philosophical, social, and political contexts that shape the representation of gender and its intersections with factors such as race, class, sexuality, nationality, disability, and others. As a philosophical investigation of self-representation activities, this course includes materials from a variety of self-representational mediums in popular culture, including written autobiography, self-portraiture, film/video, performance, art, dance, and self-representations via social media platforms. Keywords:Intersectional/Multi-Dimensional Theory, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Critical Philosophies of Race, Critical Theory The content of this course deals with issues of race and power

  • Black women activists and organizers first coined the term "reproductive justice" in the summer of 1994 while organizing to expand the scope of the Clinton administration's Health Security Act. As a critical theoretical framework, reproductive justice moves beyond the abortion "choice" debates, encompassing a wide range of issues impacting the reproductive lives of marginalized people, including but not limited to the right to have children, not have children, parent the children one has, access safe contraception, comprehensive and culturally informed sex education, prevention and treatment for STIs, access to liberated and liberating birth methods, technologies, and outcomes, what it means to queer access to ARTs, ethical questions around surrogacy, the racialized and colonialist politics of foster care and adoption, adequate prenatal and pregnancy care, adequate wages, and safe(r) homes. In this class we will cover theory and community practices that emerge from a reproductive justice framework as well as what a such a framework suggests for related and intersecting justice issues. Keywords:Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Philosophy of Race, Social Justice The content of this course deals with issues of race and power. This course could be used to fulfill the Division II Project requirement

  • This course employs an intersectional philosophical approach to the study of human sexuality. Specific topics include ethical, epistemological (knowledge), and political questions related to sexual orientation, lust, casual sex, adultery, love, sexual orientation and practice, different types of relationships, and the intersectionality of sexual identity and orientation with other identities such as race, gender, and disability status. As we consider these questions, we will challenge assumptions regarding human sexuality, consider the importance of sexuality and friendship to the good life, and discuss what, if any, is the appropriate role of the state in human sexual behavior. Keywords:Ethics, Sex, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, Relationships

  • Is race biological? Does the gendered brain exist? How are our social and natural sciences structured by social norms? How do our institutions of medicine, agriculture, technology, psychology, etc. function through and as colonial practices? We often take for granted that race and gender are socially constructed in terms of political meaning. In this course, we will learn to think about the social role in the construction of science and scientific claims through exploring the intersections and interplay of gender, race, sexuality, science and medicine. In our readings, lectures and discussions, we will investigate the roles of science, medicine and technology in defining and redefining sex, gender, race, and sexuality; uncover the ways cultural beliefs about social identities shape science, medicine, and technology; and study the efforts by feminist philosophers, philosophers of race, and queer theorists to reveal and challenge the cultural norms that influence scientific knowledge and institutions. Keywords:Philosophy, Race, Ethics, Science, Medicine