Marjolein Oele

Full Professor

Department Chair • Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-4369 Kalmanovitz Hall 138


Marjolein Oele is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco. She was trained as an MD at the Free University of Amsterdam, has a Master's Degree in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam and received her PhD in Philosophy in 2007 from Loyola University Chicago. Her primary research interests are in Twentieth Century and Contemporary European Philosophy, in Ancient Philosophy (mainly Aristotle), and in Environmental Philosophy (a research area she recently added). She is the author of the monograph E-Co-Affectivity, co-editor of the edited volume Ontologies of Nature (Springer, 2017), and the author of numerous articles and book chapters that intertwine topics and figures in Continental Philosophy with Aristotle’s philosophy. Her most recent publications include the articles "E-Co-Affectivity Beyond the Anthropocene: Rethinking the Role of Soil to Imagine a New 'Us'" (forthcoming in the journal Environmental Philosophy) and "Mimesis and Clinical Pictures: Thinking with Plato and Broekman through the Production and Meaning of Images of Disease," which was recently published in Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy (Vol. 21, 2018, pp. 1-19).

Her monograph E-Co-Affectivity: The Power of Pathos in Living Interfaces (under advance contract with SUNY) seeks to articulate and unlock the meaning, depth, and complexity of affectivity in living beings, ultimately focusing on the very materiality of the interfaces that co-generate and co-constitute those living beings. What is innovative about this book is thinking through the concrete, living places where affectivity happens, meanwhile integrating natural science in its investigations of material interfaces. Accordingly, the book applies conceptions of the middle voice to grasp nutrition and growth in plants, and it examines the philosophical significance of material interfaces such as bird feathers, the human placenta, human skin, and soil.

Her newest book project, preliminarily entitled Loss, investigates ephemeral, enigmatic forms of loss which are difficult to put into words. Speaking to both the autobiographical and the general, this book carves out various categories of loss, their specifics and their intertwinements, and develops its argument within the understanding that articulating the material underpinnings of loss will greatly add to comprehending the significance of loss. For that reason, this book will include natural-scientific studies into its train of thought, using them as ways to grasp the various material dimensions of loss, such as the physical transformations connected to (early) miscarriage, or the various physical and affective dimensions of ecological loss after wildfires.

In terms of her service at USF, the most recent leadership role she has taken on is being Chair of the Department of Philosophy. As Chair of the Department of Philosophy her main duties are course scheduling, organizing annual retreats and monthly meetings, coordinating student advising procedures, maintaining faculty/college communications, supervising the Department assessment procedures, and updating catalog/web materials. In addition to these regular tasks, Prof. Oele’s vision for the department has focused on (1) increasing the numbers of philosophy majors and minors; (2) promotion of inclusion of both PT and FT faculty in the vision and functioning of the department; (3) providing outreach to alumni and increasing external visibility, and (4) promoting transparency of decision-making processes in the department where possible.

Prof. Oele’s other leadership role at USF consists in her role as Director of Faculty Research (DFR) in the College of Arts and Sciences at USF, a task she took on in January 2016. In that capacity, she organizes the weekly writing program, writing retreats, faculty salons, and faculty development cafés. She is also Co-Chair of the Dean’s Scholar Selection Committee. Additionally, she facilitated a year-long Faculty Learning Community on Student Engagement in 2015-2016, which led to the co-authored publication "Examining Assumptions about Student Engagement in the Classroom: A Faculty Learning Community’s Year-Long Journey."

In terms of service to the profession, Prof. Oele is, together with Gerard Kuperus, the co-founder of the Bay Area Continental Philosophy Association (BACPA) and she is also part of the executive board of the successful Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT) since its founding in 2009. The newest development related to PACT is the founding of an online, peer-refereed journal, J-PACT. Prof. Oele has also been active in the Ancient Philosophy Society, both as a member of its executive board, its program committee and as organizer of workshops and as host one of its annual meetings.

Prof. Oele loves swimming, hiking, and camping, and happily lives in Marin with her husband Gerard, their two children Lars and Imma, and their feline companion Harry.

Department Chair, Philosophy
Director of Faculty Research (DFR), College of Arts and Sciences
PhD, Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
MA, Philosophy, University of Amsterdam
MD, Free University of Amsterdam
Twentieth Century and Contemporary European Thought
Ancient Philosophy
Environmental Philosophy

Oele, M. (forthcoming) "E-Co-Affectivity Beyond the Anthropocene: Rethinking the Role of Soil to Imagine a New 'Us,'" in: Environmental Philosophy (n.pag.)

Oele, M. "Philosophy and Friendship." In In Praise of Speaking, Reading, Writing, Teaching, Discussing: Festschrift for Adriaan Peperzak's 80 Birthday, ed. C. Hanley, Baltimore, MD: Loyola University in Maryland Press. (forthcoming)

Oele, M. "Aristotle on Physis: Analyzing the Inner Ambiguities and Transgression of Nature." In Companion to Ancient Philosophy, eds. E. Sanday & S. Kirkland. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. (forthcoming)

Oele, M. “Priam’s Despair and Courage: An Aristotelian Reading of Fear, Hope and Suffering in Homer’s Iliad.” In: Logoi and Muthoi: Further Philosophical Essays in Greek Literature, ed. William Wians, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. (forthcoming)

Oele, M and Crawford, B. (2018). Book Review of Not Saved: Essays After Heidegger by Peter Sloterdijk (Polity Press, 2017), in: Comparative and Continental Philosophy, Vol. 10 (3), Fall 2018, n. pag.

Oele, M. (2018) "Mimesis and Clinical Pictures: Thinking with Plato and Broekman through the Production and Meaning of Images of Disease," in: Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy Vol. 21, pp. 1-19,

Oele, M. (2017). “Openness and Protection: A Philosophical Analysis of the Placenta’s Mediatory Role in Co-Constituting Emergent Intertwined Identities.” Configurations, 25(3), July 2017, pp. 347-371.

Oele, M. and Kuperus, G., eds. (2017). Ontologies of Nature: Continental Perspectives and Environmental Reorientations. Dordrecht: Springer.

Oele, M., DiGiammarino, P., Keiffer, M., LaVigne, M., Nicely, M. and Nosek, M. (2017). “Examining Assumptions about Student Engagement in the Classroom: A Faculty Learning Community’s Year-Long Journey.” In Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal, 6(1), Article 14, 110-119.

Oele, M. (2013). "Review of Aristotle on the Nature of Truth by C.P. Long." In Classical Philology, 108(3), 163-168.

Oele, M. (2012). "Passive Dispositions: on the Relationship between Pathos and Hexis in Aristotle." Ancient Philosophy, 32(2), 1-18.

Oele, M. (2012). "Attraction and Repulsion: Understanding Aristotle's Poiein and Paschein." Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 33(1), 85-102.

Oele, M. (2012). "Heidegger's Reading of Aristotle's Concept of Pathos." Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, 16 (2), 389-406.

Oele, M. (2010). "Suffering, Pity and Friendship: an Aristotelian Reading of Book 24 of Homer's Iliad." Electronic Antiquity (special edition: The Passions of Achilles: Reflections on the Classical and Medieval Epic), 14(1), 51-65.

Oele, M., co-translator (German to English). (2010). "The Structure and Meter of Greek Comedy" by B. Zimmermann. In Brill's Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy, ed. G.W. Dobrov. Boston: Brill, 455-469.

Oele, M., Kuperus, G. and Bartlett, A. (2009). "Aesthetic Sensibility and Political Praxis: Foucault, Lyotard and the Darfur Crisis." Radical Philosophy Review, 12 (1-2),137-155.

Oele, M. (2007). "Being Beyond: Aristotle's and Plessner's Accounts of Animal Responsiveness." In Phenomenology and the Non-Human Animal: At the Limits of Experience, ed. C. Lotz & C. Painter. Dordrecht: Springer, 29-37.

Oele, M., ed. and co-translator (English to Dutch). (2007). "Aanspraak" and "Filosofie en Vriendschap" by A. Peperzak. In Aanspraak en Bezinning. Kampen: Klement.

Oele, M. (2005). "Diogenes of Sinope." In Meet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Ancient Greek Philosophy But Didn't Know Who To Ask, ed. P. O'Grady. Aldershot: Ashgate, 139-142.

Awards & Distinctions

NEH Chair in the Humanities, USF, 2016-2017

Post-Sabbatical Merit Award for Exceptional Research Productivity, USF, 2015