Nancy Bauer
Tufts University
How to Do Things with Pornography

Nancy Bauer, an assistant professor of philosophy at Tufts University, is interested in the relationship between philosophical writing and everyday life. Wary of the view that philosophers by training are better equipped than non-philosophers to weigh in directly on social issues, Bauer is specifically concerned with feminist philosophical method. She writes about how feminism as a political movement for concrete social change might dovetail with a mode of thinking traditionally associated with abstraction, point-of-viewlessness, and a search for timeless truths. In her first book, Simone de Beauvoir, Philosophy, and Feminism (Columbia University Press: 2001), Bauer argues that in Beauvoir’s The Second Sex we find a model for making philosophy socially progressive without being simply “applied.”

At the Radcliffe Institute, Bauer will employ this model in an exploration of feminist philosophical interventions in the pornography debates. She is critical of attempts to buttress various pro and con positions with philosophical argumentation and will suggest alternative ways to think philosophically about pornography—for example, by exploring the question of whether the philosopher’s authority can undermine or ratify that of the pornographer.

In spring 2002, Bauer won the Undergraduate Initiative in Teaching Excellence Award from Tufts University and was chosen as professor of the year by the Tufts student senate. She is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and received a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University in 1997.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.