Christopher Penfield

Associate Professor of Philosophy

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B.A., Philosophy | Haverford College
M.A., Philosophy | The New School for Social Research
Ph.D., Philosophy | Purdue University

Dr. Penfield has called Sweet Briar home since 2017. Enamored of handsomely crafted French books and intrinsic pursuits, he first studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Haverford College. He remains committed to the vision of the humanities as integral to the liberal arts—and of liberal arts education as essential to social transformation and collective flourishing. It is in this spirit that Professor Penfield designs his philosophy courses, which he loves teaching. His teaching interests include social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of art and literature, philosophical psychology, environmental philosophy, philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, and logic. He was recently awarded a grant from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to support philosophy curricular development at Sweet Briar.

Dr. Penfield is also a dedicated scholar specializing in postwar French philosophy. His primary research interests include the topics of political, social and ethical agency in the philosophical areas of modern and contemporary European philosophy (from Kant to the present) and critical theory (including philosophy of race, feminist philosophy, and queer theory).

Courses Taught

Fundamental Philosophical Questions

Philosophy & the Arts

Roots of Western Thought

Ethics: Theories & Applications

Nineteenth & Twentieth Century Philosophy

War, Power, & Justice

Philosophy of Race

Feminist Philosophy

Critical Social Theory

Philosophy of Human Nature

Philosophy of Religion


Nietzsche & Postmodernism

Existential Philosophy & Psychology

Religion & Revolution

Philosophy of the Environment

Contemporary Ethical Questions

Philosophy of Body, Consciousness, & Perception

Introduction to Political Philosophy



  1. Penfield, C. (under review). Deleuze’s Foucault. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  2. Penfield, C., with Yubraj Aryal, Vernon Cisney, and Nicolae Morar (2016). Between Foucault and Derrida. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  1. Penfield, C. (under review). ‘Deleuze and Foucault’s Virtual Ontology of the Event.’ (~10,000)
  2. Penfield, C. (under review). ‘Foucault’s Virtual Ontology of Forces: From Panoptic Dispersion to Algorithmic Policing.’ (~9000)
  3. Penfield, C. (2016). ‘Words and Images,’ In Focus: Parts of the Face: French Vocabulary Lesson 1961 by Larry Rivers, Sophie Cras, Tate Research Publication.<>.
  1. Penfield, C. (2014). ‘Toward a Theory of Transversal Politics: Deleuze and Foucault’s Block of Becoming,’ Foucault Studies, 17(Special Issue: Foucault and Deleuze): 134-172. <>.


Book Chapters

  1. Penfield, C. (2017). ‘Carceral, Capital, Power: The “Dark Side” of the Enlightenment in Discipline and Punish,’ Understanding Foucault, Understanding Modernism, Ed. David Scott. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. Pages 95-112.
  2. Penfield, C. (2016). ‘Introduction: Between Foucault and Derrida,’ Between Foucault and Derrida. Pages 1-26.
  3. Penfield, C. (2014). ‘Critique,’ The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, Eds. Leonard Lawlor and John Nale. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pages 87-93.
  4. Penfield, C. (2011). ‘Foucault, Michel,’ Encyclopedia of Global Justice, Ed. Deen K. Chatterjee. New York: Springer. Pages 365-367. doi:

Book Reviews

  1. Penfield, C. (2017). Review of Foucault/Derrida Fifty Years Later: The Futures of Genealogy, Deconstruction, and Politics, Eds. Olivia Custer, Penelope Deutscher, and Samir Haddad, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2017.04.15. (~3500) <>.
  2. Penfield, C. (2014). Review of Rethinking Philosophy and Theology with Deleuze by Brent Adkins and Paul R. Hinlicky, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2014.03.12. (~3000) <>.

Other Publications

  1. Penfield, C. (2022). ‘On Tyranny & Friendship: An Essay,’ Ed. Arendt Speser. Seattle and Rome: Andante Books.


French-to-English Translations

  1. Penfield, C. (2019). Translation of The Deleuze Seminars: Foucault by Gilles Deleuze, Lectures 09-14, <>. (~112,000)
  2. Penfield, C. (2016). Translation of ‘“But Such People Are Insane”: On a Disputed Passage from the First Meditation’ by Jean-Marie Beyssade, Between Foucault and Derrida. Pages 82-100.
  3. Penfield, C. (2016). Translation of ‘A Return to Descartes’ First Meditation’ by Michel Foucault, Between Foucault and Derrida. Pages 101-103.
  4. Penfield, C. (2016). Translation of ‘The Literary Birth of Biopolitics’ by Judith Revel, Biopower: Foucault and Beyond, Eds. Nicolae Morar and Vernon Cisney. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Pages 29-47.

Dr. Penfield is the co-editor of the book Between Foucault and Derrida (2016) and the author of several articles on, or related to, post-war French philosophy, including those appearing in Foucault Studies (2014), The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon (2014), Tate Research (2016), and Understanding Foucault, Understanding Modernism (2017). He is also the translator of Gilles Deleuze’s 1985-1986 Foucault Seminars, supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant; and his monograph, Deleuze’s Foucault, is currently under review with the University of Edinburgh Press. Most recently, Dr. Penfield published his essay, “On Tyranny & Friendship” (2022), as a standalone pamphlet with Andante Books.