Claire Katz is the Murray and Celeste Fasken Chair in Distinguished Teaching and Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M, where she currently serves as Associate Dean of Faculties. She has been on the faculty since 2006, and prior to that she was an associate professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Penn State University. A Baltimore native, she majored in philosophy at UMBC. She holds a Master’s of Arts in Teaching (teaching of philosophy to K-12 students) from Montclair State University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. She teaches and conducts research in two primary areas: (1) the intersection of philosophy, gender, education, and religion and (2) pre-college philosophy. At Texas A&M, she developed and piloted courses in Jewish philosophy, Philosophy and Gender, and Pre-college Philosophy. In 2015, Dr. Katz launched a highly successful K-12 philosophy program, which includes three prongs: educator workshops for K-12 and university teachers/administrators, which have reached more than one hundred teachers and administrators throughout Texas; training for university students in facilitating philosophical discussions with pre-college students, which includes an undergraduate course that teaches students to teach philosophy to K-12 students; and developing and running a week-long philosophy summer camp (Aggie School of Athens) for 6th-12th graders, which attracts middle and high school students from communities across Texas and around the United States. Her development of the pre-college philosophy program at Texas A&M, including the philosophy summer camp, has become leading model for pre-college philosophy programs nationally and internationally. In 2016, Philosophy Ireland, Ireland’s pre-college philosophy program, appointed her an Ambassador. She held the Liberal Arts Cornerstone Faculty Fellowship (Texas A&M 2011-2015) and a Copeland Fellowship (Amherst College 2011-12). She has given more than 150 presentations nationally and internationally. A stalwart defender of the humanities, Dr. Katz presented on the value of the humanities for TEDx TAMU (2015). In addition to more than 50 journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Katz is the author of three monographs: Levinas, Judaism, and the Feminine: The Silent Footsteps of Rebecca (Indiana 2003); Levinas and the Crisis of Humanism (Indiana 2013); and An Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy (I.B.Tauris, 2014). She is the editor of the four volume Emmanuel Levinas: Critical Assessments (with Lara Trout, Routledge 2005) and the forthcoming Growing Up with Philosophy Camp: How Thinking Develops Friendship, Community, and a Sense of Self (Rowman and Littlefield, August 2020). She is the recipient of the 2019 Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award (University Level) for Teaching and the 2019 American Philosophical Association Prize for Excellence in Teaching Philosophy. She is the mother of two aspiring feminist philosophers.
Daniel Conway received his BA in Philosophy and Economics from Tulane University and his PhD in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego. He has held faculty appointments at Stanford University, Harvard University, Penn State University, and, since 2006, Texas A&M University, where he is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Affiliate Professor of Film Studies and Religious Studies, and Courtesy Professor of Law. He currently serves the University as Convener of the Working Group in Social, Cultural, and Political Theory, Liaison to the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, Member of the Advisory Committee of the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, and Immediate Past President of the local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He is also a core faculty member in the Philosophy for Children initiative (P4C Texas) and a faculty affiliate of the Space Governance Research Group.
He currently serves the profession as a member of the Mellon Philosophy as a Way of Life Network, as Liaison to the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society. He sits on a number of editorial Advisory Boards, and he serves as General Co-Editor of a book series with Edinburgh University Press. Over the course of his career, he has held visiting appointments at Harvard University, University of Oregon, University of Warwick (UK), the National Humanities Center, UMass Amherst, and Amherst College. In 2014 he was named an Honorary Life Member of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society.
Conway has lectured and published widely on topics pertaining to post-Kantian European philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of film and literature, American philosophy, aesthetics, and genocide studies. His research has been supported by competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (declined), the Oregon Humanities Center, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, the National Humanities Center, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Centre for Research in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Warwick, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State University, the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, and the Southeast Conference. At Texas A&M University, he has received competitive grants from the Office of the Vice-President for Research, the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, the College of Liberal Arts, the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, and the Office of the Dean of Faculties.
He is the proud father of two young feminists.
Charles Carlson received his PhD in Philosophy and a MS in Biology from Texas A&M University, a MA in Philosophy from the University of Toledo, and a BA in Philosophy, Religion, and Government/International Affairs from Augustana University. He held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship and later joined the faculty at Sam Houston State University. He returned to Texas A&M University in 2019 as a Program Manager for Public Partnership and Outreach in the Office of the Provost. He has been an active part of P4C Texas since its inception, including educator workshops for K-12 and university teachers/administrators, and the Aggie School of Athens summer camp for middle and high schoolers. Charles has also been instrumental in introducing P4C to pre-elementary age kids, in particular through weekly sessions at the Becky Gates Children Center. He is the Convener of the Working Group in Critical Childhood Studies and is active in various outreach programs aimed at supporting the university’s land grant mission. His philosophical work is primarily in American Pragmatism and Philosophy of Biology.
West Gurley is Professor of Philosophy and English at Blinn College in Brenham, TX. Professor Gurley’s monograph Minding the Gap” What It Is to Pay Attention Following the Collapse of the Subject-Object Distinction (Scholars’ Press, 2013) approaches the question of what it is to “pay attention” from multiple perspectives. This work informs Professor Gurley’s relationship to the P4C program, which he argues can help to address the seeming inability of current pedagogical models to fully develop this important skill. 2020 marks Professor Gurley’s fifth year with the P4CTexas program, where he served as a collaborator and summer camp instructor. He is also editor and contributing author of the book Phenomenology and the Political (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
David J. Anderson is a fifth year doctoral student in philosophy at Texas A&M University. His research interests are in Wittgenstein, Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion, moral and religious epistemology, and the epistemology of trust and authority. He began practicing P4C with preschoolers in 2016 at the University of Texas at El Paso and continues to practice P4C with Dr. Charles Carlson at the Becky Gates Children’s Center at Texas A&M. Additionally, he and Kenji Blum engage in P4C at College Hills Elementary School in College Station and lead an undergraduate project titled “Philosophy in the Classroom” through the Aggie Research Scholars Program aimed at teaching P4C methodology to both philosophy and non-philosophy majors from diverse backgrounds.
Haley Burke is a PhD student in philosophy at Texas A&M University. She received her MA in Philosophy from the University of New Mexico in 2018 and her BA in Philosophy from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2016. Her research interests include phenomenology, hermeneutics, existentialism, social and political philosophy, and aesthetics. She is especially interested in Heideggerian and post-Heideggerian thought. 2020 was her first year facilitating the Aggie School of Athens Philosophy Camp for Teens.
Victoria is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy. She completed an MS in Primate Behavior at Central Washington University and a BS in Evolutionary Anthropology and Philosophy at Rutgers University. Her research focus is on environmental and animal ethics, as well as philosophy of science. In particular, she studies methodologies in field primatology and explores the complex relationship between scientists and nonhuman animal subjects.
Michael Portal is a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. His primary areas of research are post-Kantian European philosophy and Jewish philosophy. His first year facilitating the Aggie School of Athens Philosophy Camp for Teens was 2019.
Sijin Yan is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University. Her research focus is on the philosophy of education, feminist theories, and phenomenology. She started practicing Philosophy for Children in the P4C workshop in 2015 and the inaugural philosophy summer camp in June 2016 as an MS student in education. Afterward, she decided to write on Philosophy for Children as her master’s thesis. She utilized her statistical background to initiate a research project titled Meta-analysis of the effectiveness of philosophy for children programs on students’ cognitive outcomes. The research was published in Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis. In 2017, she realized her passion in this area and became a Ph.D. student focusing specifically on the philosophy of education at Texas A&M in the College of Education.
Kenji Blum is an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University, where he is studying Environmental Studies and Philosophy. His primary interests are in Environmental Ethics and US Environmental Law. After
taking Dr. Katz’s semester-long P4C course, Kenji became a facilitator in 2018. Along with being a facilitator in the Aggie School of Athens Summer Camp, Kenji works with several local schools to introduce philosophy to pre-college classrooms. He currently practices P4C at the A&M Consolidated High School Philosophy Club and College Hills Elementary School. Additionally, Kenji and David Anderson lead an Aggie Research Project entitled “Philosophy in the Classroom.” Through this project they introduce undergraduate students from various majors to the pedagogical framework of P4C, while also providing them the
opportunity to practice in local schools.
Olivia Conway is a sophomore biochemistry and plan II major at the University of Texas at Austin. She has attended philosophy camp since its first summer and is now a facilitator. Her favorite discussion topics are questions about identity and the formation of ethical societies.
Jadyn Driver, Junior Facilitator
Major Eason is currently a student at Swarthmore College. He plans to major in Economics and History. He was a participant in the P4C camp from 2016-2018 and has worked as a Junior Counselor since 2019.
Griffin Ford, Junior Facilitator
Martha R. Green, Ph.D. serves as Program Coordinator for Public Partnerships & Outreach, Office of the Provost, Texas A&M University. Dr. Green holds a BA in English and History from the University of Texas at Austin, a M.Ed. in Educational Technology, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. She is responsible for development and implementation of continuing professional education programs for K-12 teachers and for supporting faculty initiatives related to K-12 education. Dr. Green’s research focus is the effective implementation of digital technology to teach the writing process and develop critical thinking and problem-solving in mathematics. Dr. Green and the Public Partnership & Outreach collaborated with the Department of Philosophy and College of Liberal Arts to present the first Philosophy for Children workshop in October, 2015. She has been associated with the P4CTexas program from its beginning, assisting in the implementation of teacher workshops and the Aggie School of Athens Summer Philosophy Camp.
Patrick Anderson received his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Texas A&M University. His primary areas of research are Africana Philosophy, Social-Political philosophy, and American intellectual history. In the past, he has taught P4C classes in local high schools, and he is returning to the P4C Aggie School of Athens Summer Camp as an instructor for the second year.
Desirae Embree is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at Texas A&M University where she studies gender and sexuality in film and other media. She has been a Graduate Research Assistant with the P4CTexas program since 2016, where she manages the website and social media presence. Additionally, she served as a camp counselor for the Aggie School of Athens Summer Camp since its inception in 2016.