Cynthia Willett

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

Office: Bowden Hall 319

Phone: 404.727.2241

Fax: 404.712.9425


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Philosophy

Emory University
561 S. Kilgo Circle

Atlanta, GA 30322

Additional Websites


  • PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 1988


Proposed and established the Institute for the History of Philosophy at Emory in 2006.

Co-Director, Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (2008-2011; organizer of 50th Anniversary Conference)


Social ethics; philosophical psychology especially affects, self, community; cultural politics especially tragedy, comedy, music; new critical theory and social thought from intersectional, multicultural, and cross-species approaches

Selected Publications

  • Author of
    • A Theory of Humor: How Feminists, Animals, and Other Subversives Talk Truth, coauthored with Julie Willett (University of Minnesota, Fall, 2019)
    • Interspecies Ethics (Columbia University Press, 2014)
    • Irony in the Age of Empire (Indiana, 2008)
    • The Soul of Justice: Social Bonds and Racial Hubris (Cornell, 2001)
    • Maternal Ethics and Other Slave Moralities (Routledge, 1995).
  • Editor of
    • Theorizing Multiculturalism (Blackwell 1998)
  • Articles in
    • Cultural Critique, Philosophy and Literature, Research in Phenomenology, and Journal in Speculative Philosophy.
  • Articles

Current Work

  • Currently working on a book project, A Musicology of Social Life

Fellowships and Honors

  • Co-Director, Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy
  • Executive Board, American Philosophical Association (Eastern, 2008-2010)
  • Emory College Winship Distinguished Research Scholar (1998-2001)
  • Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at University of Kansas (1995)

Book Covers

Willett Book Cover Willett Book Cover Willett Book Cover Willett Book Cover Willett Book Cover