Susan Brison

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Susan Brison
Institutions Dartmouth College, New York University, Tufts University, Princeton University
Main interests
Anti-individualism, mental representation, free speech theory, sexual violence

Susan Brison is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at Dartmouth College, where she also lectures in the gender and women's studies program. She has held visiting appointments at New York University, Tufts University, and Princeton University.[1][2] Brison's work has succeeded in increasing the amount of attention that philosophy, as a field, pays to issues of rape and domestic violence.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Brison graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and went on to receive both a master's degree and a PhD from the University of Toronto.[2] As of 2013 she is an associate professor at Dartmouth College, where she chairs the Department of Philosophy; she has previously held visiting appointments at New York University, Tufts University, and Princeton University.[1][2] She has also previously been a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, an independent postgraduate institution in New Jersey.[2]

Research areas[edit]

Brison's work has covered a wide variety of areas including mental representation, free speech theory, sexual violence, and other issues in social, feminist, political, and legal philosophy. Most of her work is tied together by the common theme of anti-individualism. Brison is a politically engaged philosopher, and focuses on connecting her theory work with people's lived experiences, and looks for topics where she can use her analytic philosophic training to advance social justice. Brison also holds a much more limited view of the bounds of free speech than many of her contemporaries do, arguing that free speech can justifiably be limited.[1]


Brison has written a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals and in anthologies, including pieces in Ethics, Nomos, and Legal Theory.[3]

Brison has written one book, Aftermath, and edited a volume, Contemporary Perspectives On Constitutional Interpretation.[2] Another book, Speech, Harm, and Conflicts of Rights, is forthcoming.[2] She is also co-authoring a forthcoming book called Debating Pornography, which talks about internal divisions in feminism that appeared in the 1970s and continue to this day about how best to approach the subject of pornography.[1] Aftermath has been widely lauded, with Mimi Wesson describing Aftermath, writing in The Women's Review of Books, as a "lovely and inspiring volume."[4]

Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self[edit]

Brison published Aftermath: Violence the Remaking of a Self with the Princeton University Press in 2003.[5] The book uses Brison's own experience being violently raped as a personal lens in to the effects of sexual violence on identity, discussing the initial disintegration of identity that occurs with severe personal trauma and its subsequent reconstruction.[6] Brison argues that narratively understanding ones experience of rape can significantly help a survivor recover from the harm they have experienced,[4] and speaks significantly of the lived experience of rape. Aftermath has been described as Brison's attempt to rejoin two major parts of her life, that of being a woman who has undergone sexual assault, and that as an analytic philosopher.[7]

Anthology chapters[edit]

  • Brison, Susan (2005), "Outliving oneself", in Cudd, Ann E.; Andreasen, Robin O., Feminist theory: a philosophical anthology, Oxford, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 365–376, ISBN 9781405116619. 


  1. ^ a b c d e DesAutels, Peggy. "July/August 2012: Susan Brison". Highlighted Philosophers. American Philosophical Association. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Susan Brison". Dartmouth College. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Aftermath Violence". Dartmouth. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Wesson, Mimi; Brison, Susan J. (April 1, 2002). "Mind over Matter". The Women's Review of Books 19 (7): 7. doi:10.2307/4023912. 
  5. ^ "S.J. Brison". Princeton University Press. 
  6. ^ Beard, Jo Ann (January 2002). "Reading Room Stronger in the Broken Places". O, the Oprah Magazine. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ Murphy, Sara (Autumn 2005). "Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self". Signs 31 (1): 234–238. doi:10.1086/431381.