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Shannon Winnubst

Shannon Winnubst

Shannon Winnubst




286N University Hall

Professional Website

Office Hours

By appointment

Areas of Expertise

  • queer and trans studies
  • race theory
  • psychoanalytic theory
  • twentieth century French theory


  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Philosophy, 1994
  • M.A., Pennsylvania State University, Philosophy, 1991
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame, Program of Liberal Studies, 1988


My current work is driven by a singular meditation: what would it mean for white people to live the Door of No Return in our senses, our affects, our beliefs, our nerve-endings?  I explore this through several theoretical frameworks derived from the robust, varied field of black feminist theory and radical black studies.  Topics I am currently exploring include: white suicide as an ethical, symbolic, and sociological phenomenon, including the scholarship on “deaths of despair” and the opioid epidemic; the concept of “race” as obfuscating the systemic anti-Blackness that animates modernity; and “nonpersonhood” as a capacious category for radical ethics in the twenty-first century.

My most recent book, Way Too Cool: Selling Out Race and Ethics (Columbia University Press: 2015), uses the trope of a brief history of “coolness” to examine how neoliberalism is altering how we feel, not only how we think.  The focus of the book is a careful examination of the shifting meanings of social difference in the post-Civil Rights United States.  I develop a psychoanalytic reading of racialization in the contemporary neoliberal episteme, with particular attention to the limits of reading social difference and authority through the conceptual framework of interpellation.  Laced with various contemporary and historical examples, the book argues that the twinned erasure of racism and ethics is the heart of the contemporary neoliberal maelstrom.  It thereby concludes with a speculative meditation on reading both race and ethics as the structural aporia of these neoliberal times, especially in the United States.

You can find a recording of my interview about Way Too Cool here on the This is Not a Pipe Podcast.


Download Dr. Winnubst's current CV


For further publications focusing on a range of themes and intersections in the fields of queer theory, race theory, feminist theory, and twentieth century French philosophy (especially Bataille, Foucault, Irigaray, and Lacan), please see my website on academia.edu.


Dr. Winnubst's books Queering Freedom, Reading Bataille Now, and Way Too Cool.