The Queen’s community is remembering Dr. Susan Babbitt, retired professor in the Department of Philosophy, who passed away peacefully, at home, among family and friends, on Saturday, 18 September.
Dr. Babbitt joined Queen’s in 1990, after completing her doctoral dissertation on rationality at Cornell University, where she also did her Master’s degree. Dr. Babbitt grew up in Ottawa and completed her BA at the University of Ottawa.
Dr. Babbitt was a talented scholar and a committed teacher, with a passion for social justice. She published four monographs on such subjects as moral imagination, embodiment, and also, Jose Marti and Che Guevera. With a longstanding interest in the ideas of Latin America, Dr. Babbitt developed a connection between Queen’s and Cuba, devising an innovative Cuba course that lives on in the offerings of Global Development Studies. She was among the first Canadian philosophers to tackle the philosophy of race, editing with Sue Campbell the collection Philosophy and Racism (Cornell University Press) in 1999.
Dr. Babbitt continued to be philosophically active after retirement, and took up the philosophy of meditation, even attending to details of her last publication on the subject in her final few weeks.
In an obituary in the Kingston Whig Standard, Dr. Babbitt wrote of herself: ‘Her achievement was to lose some ignorance in 68 years on the planet. A 28-year career teaching philosophy followed 9 years in the 70's as a penniless, confused, self-absorbed hippy. But the latter explains the former.’
Friends, family and colleagues remember Dr. Babbitt’s tremendous courage through debilitating ill health, and her continuing optimism, curiosity and engagement with others.
Dr. Babbitt asked that there be no memorial service, but those who wish to honour Dr. Babbitt can make a donation in her honour to one of her named charities.