Contact Us:

Department of Philosophy
409 Clough Hall

Mark Newman, Associate Professor and Chair

Rebecca Tuvel | Assistant Professor
Office: 305 Clough Hall | Phone: (901) 843-3586 | Email:



I regularly teach courses in Social-Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Race, Feminist Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy and Search. Recently I taught a topics course on the Ethics of Captivity. In this course, students analyzed different justifications for keeping humans in prison and animals in zoos, factory farms, and as pets in our homes. In the future I plan to teach more topics courses on applied social and political issues, including but not limited to the death penalty, animal rights, climate change, reproductive justice and the politics of property.

Two main features characterize my teaching. First, I lead heavily discussion-based courses. I view the philosophy classroom as a mutually enlarging environment in which discussion is a primary means for developing and fostering ideas. Second, I seek to make philosophical problems relevant to students’ daily lives. In learning that abstract philosophical questions bear on their lives, students are encouraged to question the prereflective judgments that guide their practices and thinking. If students develop reflective and inquiring dispositions toward the world at the end of my class, and if they can see how philosophy’s longstanding problems bear on their practices, then I believe they are better equipped to live thoughtful and deliberate lives.


My research lies at the intersection of critical feminist, race and animal studies. Throughout my research, I have considered several ways in which animals, women and racially subordinated groups are oppressed, how this oppression often overlaps and how it serves to maintain erroneous and harmful conceptions of humanity. Uniting these lines of research is an underlying concern to theorize justice for oppressed groups.

I am currently working on a book-length critique and expansion of Miranda Fricker’s influential account of epistemic injustice, or injustices done to individuals in their capacities as knowers. The term epistemic injustice is now commonplace in feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, social epistemology, bioethics, philosophy of disability and more. However, Fricker’s work on the topic remains absent in animal ethics, at least in part because she argues that epistemic injustices can only be committed against rational humans. Against Fricker’s contention that epistemic injustices are wrongs done uniquely to rational human knowers, I argue that insofar as many animals are knowers, we can and do commit epistemic injustices against them. In seeking to bring the rich resources of Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice to animal studies, my book identifies two forms of epistemic injustice routinely committed against animals – epistemic exemption and testimonial injustice. I argue that these forms of epistemic injustice are committed in accordance with speciesist society’s efforts to maintain active ignorance about the complexity of the animals it consumes. My book concludes by offering resources for thinking of animals as epistemic agents in their own right.

Beyond Rhodes

I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I completed my undergraduate work at McGill University where I wrote an honors’ thesis on Spinoza and feminist theories of psychological oppression. I completed my doctoral work with a concentration in social-political philosophy, feminism and animal ethics at Vanderbilt University in 2014.


Ph.D    Vanderbilt University, 2014
B.A.     McGill University, 2007


Phil 101 – Introduction to Philosophy (Topic: Freedom and Oppression)

Phil 220 – Social and Political Philosophy

Phil 230 - Environmental Philosophy

Phil 255 – Philosophy of Race

Phil 355 - Feminist Philosophy

Phil 401 – Topics – Ethics of Captivity

Humanities 201 – Search for Values. (Topic: Human Exceptionalism)

Selected Publications

“Against the Use of Knowledge Gained from Animal Experimentation,” Societies: Special Issue on Alimentary Relations, Animal Relations (2015), 5 (1): 220-244.

“Sourcing Women’s Ecological Knowledge: The Worry of Epistemic Objectification,” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (2015), 30 (2): 1-18.

“‘Veil of Shame’: Derrida, Sarah Bartmann and Animality,” Journal for Critical Animal Studies (2011), IX (I/II): 209-229.

“Exposing the Breast: The Animal and the Abject in American Attitudes Toward Breastfeeding,” Coming to Life: Philosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Mothering, eds. Sarah La Chance Adams and Caroline Lundquist (New York: Fordham Press, 2013): 263-282.