Student Name: Ashley Lamarre
Field: Philosophy and African American and Diaspora Studies
Dissertation Director(s): Kathryn Sophia Belle and Robert Bernasconi
My dissertation is titled How do Images Hurt? Oppressive Representations and Black Feminist Redress. Two central questions drive her dissertation: what is the social efficacy of harmful representations, and what responses to these images hold the potential to disrupt their normative and naturalizing power? In response, Ashley brings together Black feminists' intersectional accounts of oppressive representations, such as social theorist Patricia Hill Collins' account of controlling images and philosopher Frantz Fanon's account of cultural imposition. In this dissertation, Ashley argues that critical engagements with oppressive representations are not periphery but jointly necessary for all movements concerned with the liberation of oppressed peoples. She brings together Fanon and Black feminists' accounts not only to form a robust intersectional account of oppressive representations as a phenomenon but also to identify responses that hold the potential to disrupt the oppressive norms they bring about. In discussing the mechanism of oppressive representations, it will be necessary to discuss extensively the nature of harm associated with this phenomenon to emphasize why the ongoing presence of these images still requires critical engagement.
Currently, Ashley is a Program Assistant for the Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy (CUSP) program at Penn State, which hosts a Fall Graduate Application Workshop and a Summer Institute every year. She is also a Penn State Rock Ethics Institute Fellow for the 2022-2023 academic year.