Ph.D., Philosophy, December 1991. Interdisciplinary program in Philosophy and Classics, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.
Dissertation: A Translation and Analysis of Thomas Aquinas’ Expositio Super Librum de Causis
Adviser: Louis Mackey
M.A., Philosophy, May 1984, and B.A. Honors Philosophy and Classics (magna cum laude), May 1983. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy in Popular Culture; Ancient & Medieval Philosophy; Classical Metaphysics and Natural Theology
Areas of Competence
History of Philosophy, Introductory Logic & Critical Thinking, Ethics, Classical and Medieval Latin, Classical Greek.
- Philosophy: Introduction to Philosophy; Logic; Ethical Theory; Ancient Philosophy; Medieval Philosophy; Women in Philosophy; Introduction to Gender Studies; Philosophy of Religion; Utopias & Dystopias; Eastern Philosophy in Martial Arts; Philosophy in Cyberspace; Philosophy in Science Fiction; Philosophy in Star Trek; Philosophy in Harry Potter.
- Classical Studies: Elementary, Intermediate, & Advanced Latin; Elementary & Advanced Greek; Gender in Ancient Greece.
- Professor, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX Fall 2015-present
- Associate Professor, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX Fall 2010-Summer 2015
- Assistant Professor, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX Fall 2005-Summer 2010
- Lecturer, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX Summer 2004-Summer 2005
- Educational Consultant, Quadrivium Educational Consulting Fall 2002-Spring 2004
- Assistant Professor, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove PA Fall 1996-August 2002
- Instructor, Austin Community College, Austin, TX Fall 1991-Summer 1996
- Lecturer, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX Fall 91-Spring 94, Fall 95
- Lecturer, the University of Texas at Austin, Spring 1993-Summer 1994
- Graduate Assistant, the University of Texas at Austin, Fall 1985-Summer 1991
- "The Tao at Pooh Corner: Disney's Portrayal of a Very Philosophical Bear" published in It's the Disney Version!, edited by Doug Brode and Shea T. Brode, Rowman & Littlefield, June 2016. Co-authored with Owen M. Smith.
- "Plato Goes to Middle School: Insights on the Adaptation of Traditional Philosophical Texts for Children" forthcoming in Thinking: the Journal of Philosophy for Children. Co-authored with Owen M. Smith.
- "A Prison for Others--A Burden to Oneself," a comparison of women's roles in the Prisoner series of 1967 and 2009, in
The Dynamics of Interconnections in Popular Culture(s) edited by Ray Browne and Ben Urish, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, January 2014. Co-authored with Owen Smith.
- "Voldemort Tyrannos: Plato's Tyrant in the Republic and the Wizarding World" in Reason Papers 34.1, June 2012. Co-authored with Owen Smith.
- "Pragmatism and Meaning: Assessing the Message of Star Trek: The Original Series" in Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies 8.2, November 2011. Co-authored with Owen Smith.
Reprinted in Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Original Cast Adventures edited by Douglas Brode and Shea T. Brode, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
- "Harry Potter, Radical Feminism, and the Power of Love," in Bassham, Gregory, The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles, Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010).
- "Memories Cloaked in Magic: Memory and Identity in Tin Man," in The Universe of Oz: Essays on Baum's Series and its Progeny. Kevin Durand and Mary Leigh, editors. McFarland Publishing, 2010.
- Entry on the distinction between the universal and particular in ancient philosophy, invited contribution to Themes in Ancient and Modern Philosophy. Jill Hernandez, editor. Kendall-Hunt, 2009.
- "Playing [with] Multiple Roles: Readers, Authors, and Characters in 'Who is Blaise Zabini?'". The Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol. 3, 2009.
- Translation of excerpts from the Problemata of Heloise, together with the accompanying Solutiones of Peter Abelard, with annotations designed to assist Latin students and an introductory essay. Published in the anthology Women Writing in Latin, edited by Jane Jeffrey, Laurie Churchill, and Phyllis Brown, 2002.
- Ten entries for the reference work Medieval Europe and the Rise of Christendom, 500-1300 AD: an Interdisciplinary Biographical Dictionary, edited by Jana Schulman, 2002. Co-authored with Owen Smith.
- “The Philosophy of Star Trek: Popular Culture as Hermeneutical Springboard,” Teaching Philosophy, Dec. 1995 (18:4).
- Invited by The Aquinas Institute for Opera Omnia, Vol. 54: Translation of Aquinas' Commentary on the Liber de Causis.
Published on H-NET:
Published in journals:
Graphic novels and translations.
- "The P'u of Tigger," joint presentation with Dr. Owen M. Smith at the DePaul Pop Culture Conference, Chicago, IL, May 2019.
- "Disney: Remixed," joint presentation with Dr. Samantha Close at the DePaul Pop Culture Conference, Chicago, IL, May 2019.
- "Welcome to Hogwarts: Entering the Story through Wizard Rock," invited presentation at the DePaul Pop Culture Conference, Chicago, IL, May 2017.
- "The Riddle of Utopia and the Utopia of Riddle: Voldemort's Perfect World" (presented) as part of a panel on Utopias and Dystopias in Modern and Contemporary Culture (chaired) at the Southwest PACA (Southwest Popular/American Culture Association) Conference in Albuquerque, NM, February 2015.
- "It's Real For Her: Wizard Rock, Petunia Evans, and the Ontological Status of Hogwarts" at the Southwest PACA (Southwest Popular/American Culture Association) Conference in Albuquerque, NM, February 2014.
- "Resourceful, Resilient, and Strong: Wizard Rock and Feminism" at the SW/TX PCA/ACA (Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association) Conference in Albuquerque, NM, February 2013.
- "Voldemort Tyrannos: Plato's Tyrant in the Republic and the Wizarding World," joint presentation with Owen M. Smith at "The Power to Imagine Better: The Philosophy of Harry Potter" Conference at Marymount Manhattan College, October 2011.
- "A Man Whose Name Really Should Be Albus: Kant's notion of free play in the Ministry of Magic's 'Ascendio'" at Potterwatch 2011, UNC-Charlotte, October 2011.
- "Virtue's Evil Twin: Draco Malfoy and the Acquisition of Vice" at Mythcon 41, Dallas, TX, July 2010.
- "Memories Cloaked in Magic: Memory and Identity in Tin Man" at Oz 2009: The Yellow Brick Road in the 21st Century, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR, July 2009.
- "Faith and Fostering," joint presentation with Owen M. Smith and Kathleen Belanger at the 11th Annual Foster and Adoptive Training Conference, sponsored by the SFA School of Social Work.
- "Plato Goes to Middle School: Confirming and Challenging Contemporary Theories of Philosophy for Children," joint presentation with Owen M. Smith (considerably expanded and revised since PCA) at the Classical Association of the Southwestern United States, Mescalero, New Mexico, September 2005.
- "From Dynamis to Virtus in Two Difficult Steps: The Metaphysical Effect of a Linguistic Decision as seen in Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on the Latin version of the Liber de Causis" at the 37th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2002.
- "The Assimilation of the Intelligences in Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on the Liber de Causis" at the 36th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2001.
- "Membership or Transcendence? Being, Life, and Intelligence in Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on the Liber de Causis" at the 34th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 1999.
- "Plato Goes to Middle School," joint presentation with Owen M. Smith at the Pennsylvania Classical Association, October 1998.
- "Multiculturalism in Star Trek" at a Susquehanna University Student-Sponsored Forum, November 1998.
- "Arab Influence on 13th Century Medieval European Philosophy" at a Susquehanna University Faculty Colloquium, October 1998.
- "The Legitimacy of the Analogy of Being in Aquinas’ Commentary on the Liber de Causis" at the Plymouth Medieval Studies Forum, April 1998.
- "'As Clever And Deceitful As He Is Powerful': Descartes’ Concept of the Evil Genius in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode 'Ship in a Bottle'" at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference, April 1998.
I provide both a translation and an analysis of this historical philosophical work previously not available in English, in which Thomas Aquinas first reveals that the popular medieval text known as the Liber de Causis is in fact a synopsis of Proclus’ Elements of Theology.
It is easy to demonstrate that Thomas purports to be giving a straight account of the meaning of the Liber de Causis. He is at pains to correct false impressions, and there is an underlying presumption that if the Liber de Causis is explicated correctly, then it will concord with the truth. On the other hand, the way in which Thomas proceeds to understand the Liber de Causis “correctly” is at odds with what the text actually says. My analysis is intended to show that Thomas’ interpretation is often inconsistent with the wording of the Liber de Causis itself, and with its neoplatonic origin. The problem of natural theology is a natural focus for this discussion, since it is an issue where Thomas holds strong opinions. I examine three particular issues concerning the nature of God: Thomas’ identification of the Christian God as the “First Cause” of the Liber de Causis; Thomas’ identification of the principles of Being, Life, and Intelligence expounded in the Liber de Causis with God’s essence; and Thomas’ identification of God as the neoplatonic “One Beyond Being.” I conclude by examining Thomas’ method of interpetation, comparing it to previous models, and suggesting possible philosophical motives.
- Posters for classes in philosophy and classical studies.
- Harry Potter Publicity
- Harry Potter Goes Sexy, ABC News website, November 2010.
- At Long Last, Harry Potter Fans Get Their Sex Scene, The Atlantic Wire, November 2010 (summary including portions of my interview from the ABC News article).
- "Bringing Sexy Back ... to Hogwarts? Ohh yeahh," The Pine Log, November 2010 (summary including portions of my interview from the ABC News article).
- Video interview discussing Philosophy in Harry Potter class, McClatchy Interactive, July 2007.
- "A Mythological Argument over Potter Ending," Associated Press, July 2007.
- "Generation Hex", The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2007.
- "Harry Potter Inspires New Readers", The Galveston Daily News, July 2007.
- "Will Harry Potter die, or is "7" his lucky number?"- press release from the SFA Public Affairs office, printed in The Daily Sentinel, July 2007.
- "Dumbledore's Army prepares for the new year" story in the SFA student newspaper, The Pine Log, October 1, 2007.
- "Prof Shares Expertise on Harry Potter", The Daily Sentinel, July 2005.
- Other Publicity