Aili Bresnahan

Contact Information

Aili Bresnahan

Assistant Professor

  • Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Bresnahan specializes in Aesthetics, particularly in contemporary philosophy of art, including dance, theatre and performance. She has served as the faculty associate to the Graul Chair in Arts and Languages and is a member of the Prelaw committee. Her service to the profession includes founding and moderating the DancePhilosophers googlegroup, reviewing articles for academic journals, and being a co-organizer for the American Society for Aesthetics Eastern Division meeting. She has been a faculty member at UD since 2012.


  • Ph.D., Philosophy, Temple University
  • J.D., Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • B.A., Philosophy, Columbia University

Research Interests

  • Aesthetics
  • American Pragmatism
  • Philosophy of law and culture as it pertains to the arts

Selected Publications

“The Philosophy of Dance,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (principal editor),, first published January 12, 2015.

“Toward A Deweyan Theory of Ethical and Aesthetic Performing Arts Practice,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 1, No. 2 (November 2014): 133-148. Publisher: Bloomsbury.

“Censorship As Catalyst for Artistic Innovation.” Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 23, No. 2 (2014): 98-116. Publisher: Center for Peace and Justice Innovation at Villanova University.

“Improvisational Artistry in Live Dance Performance As Embodied and Extended Agency.” Dance Research Journal 46, No. 1 (April 2014): 84-94. Publisher: Cambridge University Press.

Selected Presentations

Keynote Speaker, Lenoir-Rhyne University Symposium on University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE), Hickory, NC (April 28, 2015): Unlocking Creativity through Improvisation.

American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting, St. Louis, MO (February, 2015): Taking It to the Stage: How Popular Dance Achieves Fine Art Status.

International Peace Research Association Conference, Istanbul, Turkey (August, 2014): Ending Violent Conflict without Fixed Moral Principles.

Additional information can be viewed on her website CV.