Ashley Lamarre (she/her) is a dual-title Ph.D. candidate in the departments of Philosophy and African American and Diaspora Studies at Penn State University. Her research interests include Critical Philosophy of Race, Feminist Philosophy, and Ethics. Her dissertation project explores the role of hegemonic representations in oppressive systems across Frantz Fanon’s account of cultural racism and Black Feminist accounts of stereotypical representations from thinkers such as Elise Johnson McDougald, Claudia Jones, bell hooks, and Patricia Hill Collins. Additionally, Ashley is also a Program Assistant for the Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy (CUSP) program at Penn State which hosts both a Fall Graduate Application Workshop and a Summer Institute every year.
Dissertation: "Cultural Racism and Controlling Images: Hesitations, Hierarchy, and the Role of Hegemonic Representations in Oppressive Systems"
Project Description: The central question I am concerned with in this dissertation is: what is the role of hegemonic representations in an oppressive system? In this dissertation, I argue that Frantz Fanon's account of cultural racism can illuminate the mechanism of certain oppressive practices, like hegemonic representations, but lacks in its verdict that cultural racism should be considered a comparably minor form of oppression. Instead, cultural racism should be understood as a co-constitutive element of other forms of exploitation due to its ability to impair the affected group's capacity for self-definition and its ability to reduce a group's capacity to resist their oppression. While some contemporary work in critical phenomenology recognizes the power of forms of representational violence, this co-constitutive relationship is thoroughly theorized within Black Feminist Thought by thinkers such as Elise Johnson McDougald, Claudia Jones, bell hooks, and Patricia Hill Collins. Turning to Black Feminist Thought provides an intersectional account of cultural oppression, which we do not get with Fanon, and a rich resource for analyzing attempts to dismantle hegemonic representations. Bringing together Fanon's decolonial thought and Black Feminist Thought will also allow me to elucidate the woes of liberatory urgency that lead to hierarchies of oppression and political hesitancy in the face of issues of representation.