“Hannah Arendt once noted that the past is a chaotic sea floor, sitting ready for pearl divers: we are subject to traditions, some living, some dead, most buried, often by pain and suffering, and thus hidden. As a professor, I aid students in diving for pearls--in finding things important to them that might also transform their world--an act at once historical, contemporary, and deeply ethical.”
Assistant ProfessorJudaic Studies
Martin Shuster is Director of Judaic Studies and Assistant Professor. Prior to Goucher, he taught at Hamilton College, the Johns Hopkins University, and served as chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies department at Avila University. Through the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, he has also taught at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup. He is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching interests span philosophy, Judaic studies, religion, genocide studies, media studies, and critical theory.
Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress
In addition to several articles, I am completing two book length projects. The first, titled Our Idol Still: State, Nation, and Genocide draws on genocide studies, political and critical theory, and intellectual history in order to trace a structural relationship between the perpetration of genocide and the very fact that we have organized ourselves into nation states. The second, titled How to Measure a World?, tells a subterranean history of Jewish philosophy as oriented around the notion of ‘world’ and traces this theme from Moses Maimonides to Theodor W. Adorno. Finally, I am also working on two edited collections. With Anne O’Byrne, I am finishing work on a volume called Logics of Genocide: The Structures of Violence and the Contemporary World, under contract with Indiana University Press. With Henry Pickford, I am beginning work on the Oxford Handbook of Theodor W. Adorno, under contract with Oxford University Press.
Areas of Expertise
Jewish thought and philosophy, 18-20th century European philosophy, philosophy of religion, ethics, aesthetics, social and political philosophy and theory, ordinary language philosophy, and critical theory.
New Television: The Aesthetics and Politics of a Genre (University of Chicago Press, 2017).
Autonomy after Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism, and Modernity (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
Jean-François Kervégan, L’effectif et le rationnel. Hegel et l’esprit objectif, translated w/ Daniela Ginsburg and published as The Actual and the Rational: Hegel and Objective Spirit (University of Chicago Press), in press (publication date: July, 2018 — 416 pages).
Theodor W. Adorno, “Thesen über Bedürfnis,” translated with Iain Macdonald and published as “Theses on Need,” Adorno Studies, 1:1, 101-104.
Articles and Book Chapters
“A Phenomenology of Home: Jean Améry on Homesickness,” Journal of French and Francophone Studies, 24:3, 2016, 117-127.
"Adorno and Negative Theology," Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 37:1, 2016, 97-130.
"The Ordinariness and Absence of the World: Cavell's Ontology of the Screen-Reading The World Viewed," Modern Language Notes (MLN), 130:5, 2015, 1067-1099.
"On the Ethical Basis of Language: Davidson, Levinas, and Cavell on Language and Others," Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, 14:2, 2015, 241-266.
"Nothing to Know: The Epistemology of Moral Perfectionism in Adorno and Cavell," Idealistic Studies, 44:1, 2014, 1-29.
"Kant's Opus Postumum and McDowell's Critique of Kant," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 52:4, 2014, 427-444.
"Humor as an Optics: Bergson and the Ethics of Humor," Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 28:3, 2013, 618-632.
“‘Boyd and I dug coal together’ - Norms, Persons, and being justified in Justified,” Modern Language Notes (MLN), 127:5, 2013, 1040-1058.
“Loneliness and Language: Arendt, Cavell, and Modernity,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 20:4, 2012, 473-497.
“Philosophy and Genocide,” in Donald Bloxham and A. Dirk Moses, eds. Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies (Oxford University Press, 2010), 217-235.
“Internal Relations and the Possibility of Evil: On Cavell and Monstrosity,” European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 2:2, 2010, 74-84.
“Being as Breath, Vapor as Joy—Using Heidegger to Re-Read the Book of Ecclesiastes,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 33:2, December 2008, 219-244.
External Awards, Honors, Grants
Summer Faculty Research Workshop Leader (w/ Anne O'Byrne),Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2015: "Genocide, Agency, and the Nation State after Auschwitz"
Co-Principal Investigator (w/ J. Aaron Simmons) for "A Cross-Cultural Inquiry into Religious Understanding," through theVarieties of Understanding: New Perspectives from Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology, Research Grant (Fordham University/Templeton Foundation), 2014-2015.
Diane and Howard Wohl Scholar in Residence, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, 2007-2008.