About Noëlle McAfee

Noelle_McAfee_2018picI am a critical theorist working in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, drawing on feminist philosophy, psychoanalysis, and political theory. I teach at Emory University where I am Professor of Philosophy with a secondary appointment as Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University. I am also Director of Emory’s Psychoanalytic Studies Program; affiliated faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I blog at gonepublic.net.

For my work, I draw widely from various traditions in philosophy  and from experiments in self-government around the world. My books include Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis (Columbia 2019), Democracy and the Political Unconscious (Columbia 2008); Julia Kristeva (Routledge 2003); Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship (Cornell 2000); and the co-edited anthology, Democratizing Deliberation. I have also published over fifty journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. Additionally, I am the co-editor of the Kettering Review, published by the Kettering Foundation, and an editor of the feminist section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 

My most recent book, Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, won the American Pyschoanalytic Association’s 2020 Courage to Dream Book Prize for the book that best integrates academic and clinical aspects of psychoanalysis. The book focuses on the pathologies that underlie the rise of hyper-nationalism, polarization, and entrenched divides. It lays out what kind of deliberative political process could help collectivities work through these difficulties. My previous book, Democracy and the Political Unconscious (Columbia University Press, 2008), charts a course for democratic practice in a world sorely needing  transformation. It explores the potential of deliberative dialogue and other public testimonies to work through the traumas of oppression, terror, and brutality that keep political communities from developing spaces and practices through which all can help shape their common world.



Photo credit: Jenn Pierce.