Lisa Guenther

Lisa Guenther

Professor, Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies


Arts and Science

People Directory Affiliation Category
  • BA, Bishop’s
  • PhD, University of Toronto
Specializations / Research Interests

Critical Prison Studies, Phenomenology, Feminism, Continental Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Critical Race Theory

Personal Website


Lisa Guenther is Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies. She is the author of Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives (2013) and The Gift of the Other: Levinas and the Politics of Reproduction (2007), and co-editor of Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration (2015) with Geoffrey Adelsberg and Scott Zeman. Recent publications include “Seeing Like a Cop: A Critical Phenomenology of Whiteness as Property” (in Race as Phenomena, 2019) and “Police, Drones, and the Politics of Perception” (in The Ethics of Policing, forthcoming).  As a public philosopher, Guenther’s work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Globe and MailAeon, and CBC’s Ideas. She was a member of the P4W Memorial Collective from 2018-21, and she worked with REACH Coalition in Nashville, Tennessee, from 2012-17. She is currently working on the relation between prison abolition and decolonization in the context of Canada and the United States. 

  • Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
  • The Gift of the Other: Levinas and the Politics of Reproduction. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2006.
Edited Books / Collections
  • Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration. Co-edited with Geoff Adelsberg and Scott Zeman.  New York: Fordham University Press, 2015.
Edited Journal Issues
  • Co-editor with Chloë Taylor, Special Issue: Queer, Trans, and Feminist Responses to the Prison Nation, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 6.1, Winter 2016.
  • Co-editor with Ami Harbin, Special Issue: Phenomenology, Affect, and Emotion, PhaenEx: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture 7.2, Fall 2012.
  • Co-editor with Chloë Taylor, Special Issue: Continental Perspectives on Animals, PhaenEx: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture 2:2, Fall 2007.
Journal Articles
  • 'Dwelling in Carceral Space,’ Levinas Studies 12, 2018.
  • ‘The Unmaking and Remaking of the World in Long-Term Solitary Confinement,’ Social Philosophy Today 34, 2018.
  • ‘The Unmaking and Remaking of the World in Long-Term Solitary Confinement,’ Puncta: Journal of Critical Phenomenology 1:1, 2018.
  • ‘Prison Beds and Compensated Man-Days: The Spatio-Temporal Order of Carceral Neoliberalism,’ Special Issue on Neoliberal Confinements: Social Suffering in the Carceral State, Social Justice 44:2/3, 2018.
  • ‘A Critical Phenomenology of Dwelling in Carceral Space,’ Special issue on Phenomenology against Architectural Phenomenology, Log 42, Winter 2018.
  • ‘The Creaturely Politics of Prison Resistance Movements,’ Carceral Notebooks, “Challenging the Punitive Society,” ed. Perry Zurn and Andrew Dilts, 12, 2016. 
  • (with Chloë Taylor) ‘Introduction: Queer, Trans, and Feminist Responses to the Prison Nation’, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 6.1, 1-8, Winter 2016.
  • ‘Political Action at the End of the World: Hannah Arendt and the California Prison Hunger Strikes,’ The Canadian Journal for Human Rights 4:1, 2015.
  • The Most Dangerous Place: Pro-Life Politics and the Rhetoric of Slavery.’ Postmodern Culture 22:2 (January), 2013.
  • ‘Fecundity and Natal Alienation: Rethinking Kinship with Emmanuel Levinas and Orlando Patterson.’ Levinas Studies 7. Special Issue on Levinas and Race, Ed. John Drabinski, 2012.
  • ‘Beyond Dehumanization: A Post-Humanist Critique of Intensive Confinement.’ Journal for Critical Animal Studies 10:2, Special Issue on Animals and Prisons, 2012.
  • ‘Resisting Agamben: The Biopolitics of Shame and Humiliation.’ Philosophy and Social Criticism 38:1, 2012, pp. 59-79.
  • ‘The Ethics and Politics of Otherness: Negotiating Alterity and Racial Difference.’ philoSOPHIA 1.2, 2011, pp 195-214.
  • ‘Subjects without a World? An Husserlian Analysis of Solitary Confinement.’ Human Studies 34, 2011, pp 257–276.
  • ‘Merleau-Ponty and the Sense of Sexual Difference.’ Angelaki 16:2, 2011, pp 19-33.
  • ‘Shame and the Temporality of Social Life.’ Continental Philosophy Review 44:1, March 2011.
  • ‘Other Fecundities: Proust and Irigaray on Sexual Difference.’ differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies 21:2, 2010, pp 24-45.
  • ‘‘Nameless Singularity’: Levinas on Individuation and Ethical Singularity.’ Epoché 14:1, Fall 2009, pp 167–187.
  • ‘Who follows whom?  Derrida, Animals and Women.’  Derrida Today 2:2, 151-65, 2009.
  • ‘Being-from-Others: Reading Heidegger after Cavarero.’ Hypatia 23:4, Fall 2008.
  • ‘Le flair animal: Levinas and the possibility of friendship.’ PhaenEx: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture 2:2, Fall 2007.
  • ‘‘Like a Maternal Body’: Levinas and the Motherhood of Moses,’ Hyaptia 21:1, Special Issue on Maternal Bodies, 119-136, Winter 2006.
  • ‘Lucky Burden: Beauvoir and the Ethical Temporality of Birth’, Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy, 9:2, 177-194, 2005. 
  • ‘Unborn Mothers: The old rhetoric of New Reproductive Technologies’, Radical Philosophy, 130, 2-6, March/April 2005.
  • ‘Towards a Phenomenology of Dwelling,’ Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, Vol. 7(2), 38-46, 2002. 
Chapters in Books
  • ‘Police, Drones, and the Politics of Perception,’ The Ethics of Policing, ed. Eduardo Mendieta and Ben Jones. Forthcoming from New York University Press.
  • ‘CCA/Core Civic,’ A People’s Guide to Nashville, ed. Amie Thurber and Jim Fraser. Forthcoming from University of California Press.
  • ‘‘We Charge Genocide’: Anti-Black Racism in the United States as Genocidal Structural Violence,’ Logics of Genocide, ed. Ann O’Byrne and Martin Shuster. New York: Routledge, 2020.
  • ‘Critical Phenomenology,’ 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology, ed. Ann Murphy, Gayle Salamon, and Gail Weiss. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2019.
  • ‘Seeing Like a Cop: A Critical Phenomenology of Whiteness as Property,’ Race and Phenomenology, ed. Emily Lee. Rowman and Littlefield, 2019.
  • ‘‘An Abolitionism Worthy of the Name: From the Death Penalty to the Prison Industrial Complex,’ Deconstructing the Death Penalty Towards a New Abolitionism: Essays on Derrida’s Death Penalty Seminars, ed. Kelly Oliver, with Stephanie Straub.  Fordham University Press, 2018, pp. 239-258.
  • ‘Epistemic Injustice and Phenomenology,’ The Routledge Handbook to Epistemic Injustice, ed. Ian Kidd, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus. New York: Routledge, 2017, pp. 195-204.
  • ‘A Critical Phenomenology of Solidarity and Resistance in the 2013 California Prison Hunger Strikes,’ Body/Self/Other: The Phenomenology of Social Encounters, ed. Luna Dolezal and Danielle Petherbridge. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2017, pp. 42-74.
  • ‘Angela Davis,’ Fifty Key Feminist Philosophers, ed. Lori Marso. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • ‘Life Behind Bars: The Eugenic Structure of Mass Incarceration,’ Feminist Philosophies of Life, ed. Hasana Sharp and Chloe Taylor. Kingston, ON: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.
  • ‘On Pain of Death: The ‘Grotesque Sovereignty’ of the US Death Penalty,’ The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Ed. Anne Whitehead and Angela Woods. Edinburgh University Press, 2016.
  • ‘The Living Death of Solitary Confinement’ in The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments. Ed. Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015.
  • ‘Social Death and the Power of Creative Resistance,’ The House That Herman Built, ed. Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace. Stuttgart, Germany: Reihe Projectiv, 2015.
  • ‘Beyond Guilt and Innocence: The Creaturely Life of Prisoner Resistance,’ Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition, ed. Andrew Dilts and Perry Zurn. Palgrave 2015.
  • ‘The Psychopathology of Space: A Phenomenological Critique of Solitary Confinement,’ Medicine and Society in Continental Perspective, ed. Darian Meacham. Dortrecht: Springer, 2015.
  • ‘Inhabiting the House that Herman Built: Merleau-Ponty and the Pathological Space of Solitary Confinement.’ Merleau-Ponty: Space, Place, Architecture, ed. Patricia Locke and Rachel McCann.  Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2015.
  • ‘Maroon Philosophy: An Interview with Russell “Maroon” Shoatz,’ Death and Other Penalties: Continental Philosophers on Prisons and the Death Penalty. Co-edited by Geoffrey Adelsberg and Scott Zeman. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015.
  • ‘The Birth of Sexual Difference: A Feminist Response to Merleau-Ponty.’ In Coming to Life: Philosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Mothering.  Ed. Sarah LaChance Adams and Caroline R. Lundquist. Fordham University Press, 2012.
Work in Progress
  • “Asking Different Questions: A Decolonial of Reading of Merleau-Ponty”
  • “Memory, Imagination, and Resistance in Canada’s Prison for Women”
  • “Settler Colonialism, Incarceration, and the Abolitionist Imperative: Lessons from an Australian Youth Detention Centre”
  • “Six Senses of Critique for a Critical Phenomenology”
  • “On Dwelling in Fraught Places: Towards a Decolonial Abolitionist Ethics”
  • “Property, Dispossession, and Carceral-Colonial Power”
  • PHIL 318 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 256 Existentialism
  • PHIL 276 Critical Perspectives on Social Diversity
  • PHIL 441/841 Critical Phenomenology
  • CUST 807/PHIL 821 Settler Colonialism and Incarceration