Kristin Switala is the creator and editor of the Feminist Theory Website and the Chantal Chawaf Newsletter. She is also the U.C. Foundation Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she teaches courses in philosophy and specializes in creating and applying instructional technologies in the classroom.
Enrolling in the Honors Program at Villanova University in 1985, Switala focused on interdisciplinary humanities and 20th century French and German philosophy. Her interdisciplinary senior thesis, "A Study of the Discursive Shift in Etiological Theories of Schizophrenia: 1965-1984," examined biological, genetic, psychoanalytic, sociological, and philosophical theories of concerning the etiology of schizophrenia. In 1989 she was admitted into the Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society, won the Medallion for the Outstanding Achievement in Philosophy, and was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Also in 1989 Switala was admitted into the Ph.D. program in Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, where she was a University Graduate Fellow. She wrote her dissertation, "The Mutation of Language in Foucault," on the shifts in linguistic theories and practices which occured between Modern Philosophy and German Idealism, and between German Idealism and Poststructurialism. In 1992 she took first place at Graduate Research Day for her work on Aristotle and history, and in 1993 she won the Franklin J. Matchette Teaching Award for being an outstanding gradutate TA and instructor. She also received her Ph.D. that year.
Accepting a position as Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Switala joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Fall 1993. She has taught introductory-level philosophy courses, an Honors Program interdisciplinary humanities course, and several upper-level philosophy courses. In 1994 she won the Student Government Association Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, followed by the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award in 1995. Then in 1996 Switala was awarded the highest teaching award given in the University of Tennessee system, as the UT National Alumni Association Teacher of the Year, in recognition of her work with individual students and for introducing innovative techniques and technologies into the classroom. She was appointed to the Instructional Excellence Committee and charged with the task of preparing annual programs and lecture series to promote the use of new instructional technologies among the faculty. To improve the quality of instruction, Switala produced a CD-ROM on contemporary French literature, an Internet-based lab manual for Philosophy of Mind courses, a set of newsletters on ancient Greek culture for interdisciplinary Western Humanities Courses, and delivered papers at national conferences on how to improve students' writing in undergraduate courses.
Switala's research has consisted of philosophical articles on poststructuralism, aesthetics, and feminism (see Bibliography below) and a tri-lingual website on feminist theory. The Feminist Theory Website began (in 1997) as a way to improve students' resources on international feminism making readily available bibliographies, biographies, and essays by and about many important women scholars and activists. It has grown into a huge site, providing information on feminism and women's rights in 130 countries, with in-depth profiles of 80 important scholars and activists. The site provides a bibliography of more than 5000 books and articles, and nearly 600 direct links to women's organizations and publications, plus email contact information for the leaders of various women's groups around the world. In 1998 the site won the Women's Network Best Site of the Year award, and in 1999 was invited to join the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Tech, where it is currently housed.
Currently, Switala is focusing on two areas. First, she is developing further informational and cultural exchanges with women scholars/activists in the former Soviet Union (particularly in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, and Ukraine) and Southeast Asia (particulary in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). Second, she is analyzing the effectiveness of a variety of new instructional technologies for their application in the classroom.
"Derrida and Feminism: Recasting the Question of Woman" (book review) Teaching Philosophy 22/1 (March 1999): pp. 101-104.
Translation (with Rebekah Sterling): Courtine, Jean-Francois, "The Destruction of Logic: From Logos to Language," in The Presocratics After Heidegger. Ed. D.C. Jacobs. New York: State University of New York Press, forthcoming 1998.
"Foucault and the Mutation of Language," Philosophy Today 41/1 (Spring 1997): pp. 166-173.
This paper is aimed at the heart of one of the biggest philosophical controversies surrounding Michel Foucault and his works: the question of whether his earlier project (called "archaeology") is continuous with or substantially different from his later project (called "genealogy"). I show, through textual evidence ranging from his books to essays and rare interviews, that Foucault himself saw his genealogical philosophy as a radical break from the "Structuralist" archaeological philodophy. I also show why the earlier project failed and how the later project was an attempt to overcome the problems with archaeology.
"A Postmodern Musicological Approach to the Authentic Performance Debate," Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy 18 (1994): pp. 155-168.
An important debates in contemporary aesthetics concerns the authentic performance of Baroque music. Some philosophers argue that there is one truly authentic way to perform pieces by Telemann, Bach, and Rameau. Others (myself included) argue that this is contrary to the very nature of Baroque music. In this paper I show, via textual evidence from the Baroque masters and a philosophical schema of performance techniques, that this music demands improvisation and prohibits limited conceptions of authenticity.
During the summer of 1994, I enrolled in an introductory art class (the hands-on, make it yourself type) and discovered that I enjoyed painting very much. Here is a slide show that you can play to see the following pieces:
"Spring in Glacier Park," "Summer Mountain", "Bay", "Fall in the Smoky Mountains", "DIDC" (front/back), "Planets 1", "Planets 2"
(Your computer must be Java Script enabled to view these.)
Jump to one of these related pages:
COPYRIGHT 1999 KRISTIN SWITALA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.