Affinity Circles

We are delighted to offer opportunities for graduate students and faculty to share research and engage in thoughtful discussion surrounding a diverse array of topics in the field of philosophy.

We welcome discussion on any figures in the early history of philosophy from a variety of traditions, so Roman, Indian, Egyptian, and Near Eastern philosophy should be at home in this group too. The group is united insofar as we enjoy many of the "big question" issues that characterize these philosophical traditions, and we frequently discuss issues related to virtue, the cultivation of the emotions, the therapy of desire, happiness, knowledge, and the blurry line between philosophy and theology. Because these philosophies are from historical and linguistic contexts often very different to our own, we spend a good deal of time exploring key concepts and terms that will likely be unfamiliar to contemporary English speakers, and clarifying important differences between these philosophical perspectives.

Faculty Leadership:

Jeremy Reid
Kimbrough Moore

Upcoming Events:

Fri Oct 28 , 1–2:30pm: Public (History of) Philosophy, Kimbrough Moore

How do you motivate students who are new to philosophy to get excited about historical philosophers? How do you talk about complicated systems and difficult but important technical (often translated) philosophical language to people outside academic philosophy? How can you show how history can speak to people's contemporary problems? Kimbrough will help us think through some of these questions!

Fri Dec 2, 3–4:30pm: Hesiod’s Works and Days and Egyptian Wisdom Literature, Olivia Walters

 Last semester, I presented on the Egyptian concept of Ma’at. Ma’at translates to justice, balance, order, and truth, depending on the contexts in which it appears. While a moral framework, it has political implications given people in power are writing these pieces of wisdom literature. We turn to Hesiod and see strong parallels in his Works and Days, which makes an appearance roughly 800 - 750 BCE just before law develops in Athens, and over 1,000 years after the Egyptian literary canon develops in the Old Kingdom. Hesiod’s Works and Days is a piece of wisdom literature mirroring many of the same virtues as seen in the Egyptian wisdom literary canon with a cosmogony structured very similarly. In light of the Egyptian literary canon, written largely by the elite of society, what does this say about Hesiod and what is he trying to achieve in writing these texts? My goal is to analyze the nature of this particular wisdom text in its historical context, and analyze the relationship between the linguistic, religious and political power structures at play in the development of the state.


Previous Events: 

March 18th, 2022: Olivia Walters on Egyptian conceptions of virtue 

April 22, 2022: David Landy and Mohammad Azadpur on different conceptions on the self


Our M&E Affinity Circle is a group of faculty and graduate students linked by the common interest in areas of Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Modern Philosophy and  Philosophy of Science broadly construed. Our goal is to create and cultivate an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed. Our affinity group is a safe space for our colleagues and graduate students to present their ideas and receive feedback, and to provide a setting to get to know one another better.


        • Build and create a sense of community
        • Develop a community and support network that nurtures faculty and graduate students in their role as a vibrant part of our department
        • Provide professional and personal support to faculty and graduate students 
        • Provide a space for presenting, learning and discussing current research and teaching 
        • Help maintain a positive teaching environment for faculty and graduate students 
        • Help build stronger bridges among faculty and graduate students
        • Provide opportunities for guest speakers to attend and to present 
Network and Collaborate

        • Network and collaborate with other faculty and affinity groups in the department and beyond
        • Support campus community engagement by developing and strengthening collaborative relationships with faculty and students from other disciplines
        • Provide opportunities for social and professional networking between faculty and graduate students

Faculty Leadership:

Arezoo Islami
Patrick Smith 

Upcoming Events: Please email Olivia Walters at for more information.

Faculty and students interested in the intersection of philosophy and religion gather twice a semester to explore pertinent themes in this subfield of philosophy. Our group brings together scholars with diverse backgrounds in religious studies and philosophy of religion to share their reflections on these issues. We have scholars specializing in Chinese & Buddhist philosophy, Islamic thought, mysticism, and philosophy of religion.

Faculty Leadership: 

LaChanda Davis
Deena Lin 

Upcoming Events: Please email Olivia Walters at for more information.

Fall 2022 Schedule is TBD 


Values in Society Affinity circle is concerned with all things value theory; we are interested in aesthetics, ethics, political, and social philosophy, including topics like feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, ethics of liberation, decoloniality, and various topics in applied ethics. The group is open to all faculty and MA students in the department (and relevantly adjacent departments). If you are interested in presenting your work to the group, whether it’s completed or in progress, please reach out to one of the facilitators!

Faculty Leadership:

Macy Salzberger
 Jamie Lindsay 
Caitlin Dolan

Previous Events:

"Ideology and Environmental Ignorance" by Quinn Thurley 

Abstract: The claim I want to make is that attending personally to one’s environmental impact is not merely supererogatory. We cannot just applaud Greta Thunberg, on the one hand, while casually ignoring our own carbon footprint. The frustration I have as a philosopher concerned with the environment corresponds with the frustrations philosophers of race have with epistemologies of ignorance. There is a general strategy in the US of ignoring the collective impact of our actions. The ‘response-ability’ we have toward the environment is not merely supererogatory but demanding of the same critical attention we give toward other peoples. In other words, the tools of critical race theory can help us become more environmentally conscious. I also aim to show the overlap between social and environmental justice issues.