Introducing SHIFT Assistant Professor of Applied Ethics and the Common Good Dr. Jina Fast

Among the new faculty is SHIFT Assistant Professor of Applied Ethics and the Common Good Dr. Jina Fast. Established with a gift from the SHIFT Foundation, the SHIFT Professorship in Applied Ethics and the Common Good is a full-time faculty member whose academic expertise is in applied or practical ethics: the analysis of real-world moral issues. Students benefit from working with a professor who can teach and encourage them to look more broadly and explicitly at practical questions of ethics and ethical behavior. In their role, this professor provides capacity for inspiring and supporting student Div II and III projects related to ethical actions in the world.

Fast is a feminist epistemologist, queer theorist, and critical philosopher of race whose field of study centers theories produced by and through the experiences and work of marginalized people across disciplines. Professor Fast’s appointment is integral to the College's transdisciplinary approach for faculty hiring that focuses on bringing together different fields and disciplines in support of key areas of student inquiry.

Fast comes to us from Notre Dame of Maryland University, where she was assistant professor of philosophy and women’s and gender studies; assistant dean of the School of Arts, Sciences & Business; and the director of the Office of International Student Services. Previously, Fast was visiting assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at West Chester University.

Fast received her Ph.D. in philosophy and women’s and gender studies and an M.A. in philosophy from Temple University, and earned her B.A. in political science and philosophy from Villanova University. 

What are you passionate about when it comes to this work? 

I’m passionate about philosophy as a lifelong activity that all people already engage in but are distanced from as a result of systems of education, exploitative work, fascist political regimes, and dogmatic religious ideologies. Furthermore, I’m interested in the work of decolonizing the discipline of philosophy and transforming the white, masculinist, colonialist, straight epistemic frameworks and systematic practices in philosophy.

Have you been in any other professions that had an impact on how you teach and learn? 

I’ve always worked in the intersections between academia and activism that center queer folx, women, and people of color, including organizations and movements like A Chance to Heal, Occupy Wall Street, and The Trevor Project, and created and maintained institutional development opportunities such as Safe Space trainings, Bystander Intervention trainings, and Me and White Supremacy transformative educational sessions.

Tell us about your former and upcoming publications.

I’ve been published in the Journal of Critical Race Inquiry, Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice, and Hypatia, among other publications. I have two books coming out in the next academic year: Decolonizing Existentialism and Phenomenology: The Liberation of Philosophies of Freedom and Identity, from Rowman and Littlefield International (December 2023), and The Marcusean Mind, from Routledge (February 2024).

What are you looking forward to at Hampshire? 

I’m looking forward to working with students and colleagues in the experimenting model of education for which Hampshire is known. I’m excited about the Learning Collaboratives and the model for teamwork and dialogue they encourage. I’m excited to learn with students as they ask questions they know are important for them, their communities, and the world.

I look forward to creating classes that align with the Learning Collaboratives and the race and power throughline. I’m excited to work closely with students on their Divisional projects and their Community-Engaged Learning projects.

It’s wonderful to be in an environment where one doesn’t have to defend one’s queerness or explain the necessity of racial justice, disability justice, etc. The fact that awareness of injustice and commitment to social, political, and economic justice is central to Hampshire’s mission means that scholars, students, and staff can spend more time asking questions and taking part in scholarship/research/art rather than defending their/our very existence.


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