Director and Visiting Scholars

Ann CahillThe Institute will be directed by Dr. Ann J. Cahill, Professor of Philosophy at Elon University. She is the author of Rethinking Rape (2001), which has been widely cited in a variety of disciplines and used in both undergraduate and graduate courses, and Overcoming Objectification (2011). Her articles on sexual violence have appeared in journals such as Hypatia, IJFAB: The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and American Sexuality. Cahill’s work has explored topics such as the ethics of sex work, feminine beautification, and miscarriage. She is currently working on a new project focused on the ethical and political meanings of the phenomenon of voice. 

The Institute will include two-day visits from six scholars, each of whom have made significant contributions to the philosophical scholarship on sexual assault.


bergoffendebraDebra Bergoffen is the Bishop Hamilton Lecturer in Philosophy at American University and Professor Emerita of Philosophy at George Mason University. During her tenure at Mason she chaired the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and was Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center. She received the GMU Distinguished Faculty Award, the Teaching Excellence Award, the David J. King Teaching Excellence Award, and the Distinguished Scholar Award.

Her research and teaching examines epistemological, ethical and political issues from a continental perspective. Her book,The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Gendered Phenomenologies, Erotic Generosities, details the significance of Beauvoir’s singular philosophical voice and examines the impact of her thinking on contemporary philosophical theory and current feminist thought. Her most recent book, Contesting the Politics of Genocidal Rape: Affirming the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body, examines the ways that the judgements of International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia challenge established human rights paradigms of bodily integrity, gendered subjectivities, and vulnerability.


brisonSusan Brison is Eunice and Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values and Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College where she has been teaching since 1985.  She has held visiting positions at Tufts University, New York University, and Princeton University, and has been a Mellon Fellow at New York University and an NEH-funded member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ). Her book Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self (2002) and the articles that preceded it represent the first time a philosopher drew on her own experience of sexual assault in her work.


louise-du-toit2Louise du Toit is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Her main research interests include a wide range of themes  in the European and African traditions, including sexual violence, Critical Theory, political philosophy, hermeneutics, philosophy and literature, phenomenology, legal philosophy, environmental philosophy and philosophy of religion. She is the author of A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: the making and unmaking of the feminine self (Routledge, 2009) and is currently working on a second monograph with the title Sexual Violence and Political Transition. She was also guest editor of ‘Rape and Its Meaning/s’, a special edition of Philosophical Papers, November 2009. She is on the editorial board of Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, De Uil van Minerva and of Gender Questions. She is also part of the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict research group based in Hamburg, Germany.


gaveyNicola Gavey is Professor of Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and author of Just Sex? The Cultural Scaffolding of Rape (2005), as well as many articles on sexual violence and other themes. In 2005 she was a Fulbright New Century Scholar and visiting scholar at the Victims of Violence Program, affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In 2008 she was a visiting scholar at the Graduate Centre, CUNY, New York City, where she also worked with the New View Campaign to raise critical awareness about female genital cosmetic surgery. From 2008-2013 she co-edited Feminism & Psychology (SAGE Publications, London), which in 2013 received a Distinguished Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women in Psychology. She is currently directing a multi-year project titled “Pornography in the Public Eye,” funded by the Marsden Fund.


heberleRenée Heberle is Professor of Political Science and Honors adviser at the University of Toledo, where she also co-directs the Program in Law and Social Thought and coordinates the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project. She is co-editor of and contributor to Theorizing Sexual Violence (2009) and author of “Deconstructive Strategies and the Movement Against Sexual Violence” (1996). She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand and has been invited as a plenary panelist at as conference entitled: “’Against our Will’. Forty Years after: Exploring the Field of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict”, July 2015 in Hamburg / Germany.


scmiller_photo_2-copySarah Clark Miller is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Her research and teaching interests include theoretical and practical ethics, social and political philosophy, and the history of moral philosophy. She has published on the themes of global responsibility, genocidal rape, relational ethics, need and obligation, harm and moral injury, and reproductive ethics in journals such as Social Theory and Practice and The Journal of Social Philosophy. Her first book, The Ethics of Need: Agency, Dignity, and Obligation, appeared with Routledge Press in 2012. She is a member of REACH (Research Engagement and Community Healing), a research team at Penn State focused on gender-based violence that is developing an innovative body mapping project designed to aid sexual violence victim-survivors in their recovery after sexual assault. She is also currently completing a book on sexual violence and the limits of global justice.