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Noëlle McAfeeProfessorDepartment ChairProfessor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Noëlle McAfee is a critical theorist working in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, drawing on feminist philosophy, psychoanalysis, and political theory. She holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Texas (1998), an MA in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1990), and an MA in public policy from Duke University (1987). Previously she has taught at UMass Lowell, Brandeis University, and George Mason University. In addition to being Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Emory, she holds a secondary appointment as Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is also a faculty member of the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute; the director of Emory's Psychoanalytic Studies Program; affiliated faculty in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and chair of the Faculty of Psychoanalysis at Emory University.

McAfee is the author of over 80 articles and essays and five books, including Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis (Columbia, 2019), which won the American Psychoanalytic Association’s 2020 Courage to Dream Book award. Her other books include Feminism: A Quick Immersion (Tibidabo Publishing 2021), Democracy and the Political Unconscious (Columbia 2008), Julia Kristeva (Routledge 2004), and Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship (Cornell 2000). She is also on the board of officers of the feminist section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, where she oversees dozens of entries in feminist theory, and co-editor of the Kettering Review.

Her current research interests are in critical theory, psychoanalysis, feminist philosophy, and political theory.

Fellowships and Honors

  • The Robert A. Paul, PhD Scholarship Award, recognizing faculty members whose scholarly contributions and disciplinary publications have made an enduring impact on psychoanalysis, Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute, awarded August 31, 2022.
  • Winner of the Courage to Dream Book Prize for Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, awarded by the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2020.
  • Senior Fellow, Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Emory University, 2016-2017
  • Laughlin Fellow, American College of Psychoanalysts, 2016
  • Co-chair, the Public Philosophy Network
  • Associate and Principle Investigator, deliberative democracy research, the Kettering Foundation
  • Member of collaborative research project on Youth, New Media, and Citizenship, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and run by Professor Danielle Allen at the Institute for Advanced Study
  • Joseph P. Healey Endowment Research Grant,the University of Massachusetts Lowell (2002)
  • Research Fellow, Center for Deliberative Polling, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, (1997-1998).

Selected Publications

  • Author of
    • Feminism: A Quick Immersion (Tibidabo Publishing, 2021).
    • Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis (Columbia, 2019)
    • Democracy and the Political Unconscious (Columbia, 2008)
    • Julia Kristeva (Routledge, 2003)
    • Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship (Cornell, 2000)
  • Co-editor of
    • Democratizing Deliberation: A Political Theory Anthology (2012)
    • Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy Special Issue on Feminist Engagements in Democratic Theory (Fall 2007)
    • Standing with the Public: the Humanities and Democratic Practice (Kettering, 1997)
  • Recent articles and book chapters
    • “Beyond ‘Populism’: The Psychodynamics of Antipolitical Popular Movements,” Populism (4) September 2021, pp. 172-198.Remembering as Reparation: Psychoanalysis and Historical Memory," American Imago, Fall 2020.
    • "Habermas and the Public Sphere," Los Angeles Review of Books, August 11, 2019.
    • "Refugees and the Right To Politics," Refugees Now, edited by Kelly Oliver, Lisa Madura, and Sabeen Ahmed, London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019.
    • "Politics and the Fear of Breakdown," in Transitional Subjects, edited by Amy Allen and Brian O'Connor, New York: Columbia University Press, August 2019.
    • "Trump and the Paranoid-Schizoid Politics of Ideality,"Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, 21:5, 556-563, DOI: 10.1080/17409292.2017.1437705, March 2018.
    • "Neoliberalism and Other Political Imaginaries," Philosophy and Social Criticism, November 2017, Volume: 43 issue: 9, page(s): 911-931.
    • "Dewey and Public Philosophy," in the Oxford Handbook on Dewey, Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 2017.


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