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Denise James

Associate Professor; Associate Dean for Assessment and Program Review

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Office of the Dean, Philosophy


Email: Denise James
Phone: 937-229-4285


  • Ph.D., Emory University


Dr. James' primary research interest is in American social and political philosophy. She joined the faculty at the University of Dayton in 2008. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta, after completing her B.A. from Spelman College. Dr. James was the facilitator of UD’s Diversity Across the Curriculum program. She was the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award (2015) and Outstanding Service Award (2017). She teaches courses in contemporary social and political philosophy and is concerned with using the resources of pragmatism to help frame and attempt to resolve urban issues. She has published on the intersections of classical American pragmatism and black feminist philosophy. In particular, she is interested in how we might pursue the study and enlargement of the many strands of American philosophies. She is at work on a contracted book about the life and political thought of Audre Lorde.

Research interests

  • Philosophy of Geography
  • Philosophy of Race
  • Feminism
  • Pragmatism
  • Social Justice

Selected publications

“Feminist Pragmatism,” in Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy, Garry, Khader, Stone, editors, Routledge, 2017.

“Pragmatism and Radical Social Justice: John Dewey, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis,” in Pragmatism and Justice, Voparil and Dieleman, editors, Oxford University Press, 2017.

“Playing the Race Game: A Response to Thandeka’s Whites: Made in America,” John Coss Lecture Response, The Pluralist, Vol.13, No.1, in press, forthcoming Spring 2018.

“Russell B. Goodman. American Philosophy before Pragmatism.” Journal of the History of Philosophy, Vol. 54, No, 4, October 2016, pp. 686-687.

"Musing: A Black Feminist Philosopher: Is That Possible?" Hypatia, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 179 - 186, 2014.

"Comments on Marilyn Fischer's 'Addams on Cultural Pluralism, European Immigrants, and African Americans,'" The Pluralist, Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall 2014, pp. 66 – 71.

"Reading Anna J. Cooper with William James: Black Feminist Visionary Pragmatism, Philosophy's Culture of Justification, and Belief," The Pluralist, Vol. 8, No. 3, Fall 2013, pp. 32 – 45.

"Whites, Tarry Here!: George Yancy on Whiteness, a Review," Radical Philosophy Review, Vol. 16, No. 3, Fall 2013, pp. 805 – 808.

"'The Burdens of Integration,' Critical commentary on Elizabeth Anderson's The Imperative of Integration." The Symposium of Gender, Race, and Philosophy, Vol. 9, No. 2, Fall 2013, 5 pages.

"The Hostile Gospel and Democratic Faith: Black Feminist Reflections on John Dewey and Rap," Contemporary Feminist Pragmatism, Hamington and Bardwell-Jones, Indiana University Press, 2012, pp. 42-56.

"In Support of the Girls from 'Round Here:' Black Feminist Reflections on the Utility of Rage for Building Communities of Support," Chapter 6, Communities of Peace, Poe, editor, Value Inquiry Book Series, Editions Rodopi, 2011, pp. 53 – 61.

"Black Feminist Pragmatism: Forethoughts on the Practice and Purpose of Philosophy as Envisioned by Black Feminists and John Dewey." Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2009, pp. 92-99.