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Anne O'Byrne

Anne O'Byrne

Associate Professor
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, 1999


Harriman Hall 252
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3750

Tel: (631) 632-7570


Current Book Project:  Democracy and Generational Being

Democracies are remarkable for being founded on nothing but the demos. When Cleisthenes introduced districts or demes to Athenian political life it was specifically to disrupt the rule of the genos and end entitlement to political power by virtue of family or birth. Yet we continue to organize ourselves into nation-states today, and are constituted as subjects and citizens in ways that are still deeply informed by birth, nationality and our desire to belong as generational beings to a past and a future. The  genos remains the unexamined object of this desire and, in an age of genocide, there is an urgent need to interrogate what drives us to value the  genos so highly that we abhor violence against it as we abhor no other violence. How can we understand our need for taxa, orders, and kin even as we commit ourselves to the rule of those who have nothing in common? This is the paradox at the heart of the relation of demos and genos. Democracy holds out the promise of a politics beyond the  genos, but making good on that promise means working out a distinctively democratic temporality, and confronting the patterns of genocidal violence that not only made possible the founding of our modern democracies but remain with us in the form of structural repression, natal alienation, and slow death.

Current translation project: Jean-Luc Nancy. Derrida, Supplements. Fordham University Press.

Research: From  Natality and Finitude to my current project on democracy, generational life, and genocide, this work has happened at the intersection of ontology and politics. Articles and chapters investigate the political and ontological questions that arise around embodiment ("The Politics of Intrusion," “Umbilicus”), gender ("The Excess of Justice"), labor ("Symbol, Exchange and Birth"), teaching ("Pedagogy without a Project"), and worldiness (“Amery, Arendt and the Future of the World”). Much of it has dealt with the work of Heidegger, Arendt, Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Translations, alone and with collaborators, include three books of Nancy’s:  Being Singular Plural (with Robert Richardson, Stanford, 2000),  Being Nude (with Carlie Anglemire, Fordham, 2014) and  Corpus II (Fordham, 2013).  Subjects and Simulations (Lexington, 2014), on the work of Jean Baudrillard and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, was edited with Hugh Silverman and Logics of Genocide: The Structures of Violence and the Contemporary World, was edited with Martin Shuster.

Irish Studies is an on-going interest. “Traumatized Sovereignty” deals with the functioning of sovereignty in Northern Ireland, and “Learning a Strange Native Language” is about inheriting the Irish language, with a nod to Derrida’s  Monolingualism of the Other.

You can find links to some of this work below.

Teaching: Social and political philosophy; democratic theory; contemporary political philosophy; philosophy and race; philosophy and genocide;  Sensus communis; critical phenomenology; Arendt; Nancy; Nietzsche; Descartes; philosophy, commemoration and mourning; art and society.




  Logic of Genocide Logics of Genocide , edited by Anne O'Byrne and Martin Shuster (Routledge, 2020)  
Nataity and Finitude Book Cover Natality and Finitude  (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010).  
Subjects amd Simulations Subjects and Simulations , edited by Anne O'Byrne and Hugh Silverman (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2013).  
Corpus Book Cover Jean-Luc Nancy,   Corpus II: Writings on Sexuality   translated by Anne O'Byrne (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013).   
Being Nude Book Cover Jean-Luc Nancy,  Being Nude  translated by Anne O'Byrne and Carlie Anglemire (New York:   Fordham University Press, 2014).  
Being Singular Plural Jean-Luc Nancy,   Being Singular Plural translated by Robert Richardson and Anne O'Byrne (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000).