The Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed Prof Annabelle Dufourcq as Special Professor of Philosophy. Dufourcq took up her new post on 1 February 2023, succeeding Professor Cor van der Weele. Dufourcq will combine this professorship with her position as associate professor in the Department of Metaphysics and Philosophical Anthropology at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Annabelle Dufourcq studied philosophy in Clermont-Ferrand and at the University of Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, where she defended her PhD thesis in 2008 (Summa cum laude). Dufourcq's area of specialisation is contemporary continental philosophy and animal studies. "What I find particularly fascinating in the philosophical approach is that it brings together different complementary perspectives. Philosophy starts from fundamental questions about the nature of the world around us, our ideas and the cultural choices that shape society and view of the world. Moreover, philosophical questions are worked out in conjunction with critical analysis of different methods of knowledge acquisition as well as ethical and political analyses."
Role of the imagination
Annabelle Dufourcq's research focuses primarily on the role of the imagination in our relationship to reality. More than ever, in the digital and post-truth era, it is important to understand how fantasies and images work and how we can use them better. This research resulted in the publication of La dimension imaginaire du réel dans la philosophie de Husserl (Springer, Phaenomenologica, 2010) and Merleau-Ponty: une ontologie de l'imaginaire (Springer, Phaenomenologica 2012, English translation to be published in 2023).
In the years following her PhD, Dufourcq continued her research as part of several postdoctoral research projects (at University of Oregon and at Charles University in Prague) on the theme of how the imagination of nature affects our relationship with nature. She continued this research at Radboud University, in the department of metaphysics and philosophical anthropology, resulting in the publication of the book The Imaginary of Animals (Routledge 2021). Central to this work is the relationship between the way humans imagine and portray non-human animals (the imaginary of animals) and the imagination and capacity for imagination of the non-human animals themselves. For this research, Dufourcq received the Radboud Science Award in 2022.
Dufourcq: "It is an honour to take up the position of Socrates Extraordinary Professor of Humanistic Philosophy. I look forward to finding in Wageningen the ideal environment for collaboration with environmental philosophers and for interdisciplinary research that can bring about real change in the way our societies treat non-human animals."
Her teaching and research at Wageningen University and Research will focus on a deep-ecological reflection on the role that imagination and our dialogue with the animal imagination can play in facing the ecological crisis. In particular, Dufourcq will develop the research project 'animal subjects'. The central question in this research project is: how can non-human animals be recognised and studied as subjects in contemporary sciences?