Russell Ford, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Assistant Director of the Honors Program
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University


I am currently working on a book-length project on the early philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, entitled Phenomenology, Difference, Sense. In the four sections of the book I demonstrate that Deleuze’s philosophical work in the 1950s is a series of polemical interventions into contemporary philosophical debates. In the first part, I situate Deleuze in relation to the French philosophical tradition, emphasizing the French reception of Husserl’s phenomenology. The second part argues that Deleuze’s first book, Empiricism and Subjectivity, is a critique of the phenomenological rejection of empiricism, while the third part argues that Deleuze’s subsequent essays on Bergson are directed at French readings of Heidegger. Finally, in the fourth part of the book, I argue that Deleuze found in Nietzsche the resources to move away from phenomenology and toward the development of his own philosophy.

I am in the process of completing an essay on Baudelaire, “Baudelaire’s Lesbians: Sexuality, Modernity, and the Poet,” (with T-M Ranalli) and my essay,“Dead Letters: Calder’s Parable of Pornography,” will appear in a special issue of LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory devoted to literature and pornography. I have also recently completed an edited volume of essays, Philosophy &Comedy: A Long Shot (SUNY), that includes essays given at a conference that I co-organized with Peter Steeves (DePaul) in 2012. I have published several other essays and articles on topics in continental philosophy, aesthetics, and social and political philosophy. My translation of Pierre Klossowski’s Such a Deathly Desire (SUNY) appeared in 2007.

I received my Ph.D in Philosophy from Penn State University where I also earned a Doctoral Minor in Literary Theory, Literary Criticism, and Aesthetics. My thesis, entitled “The Persistence of Expression: Deleuze and the Problem of Consciousness,” was supervised by Charles Scott and Rich Doyle (English). In it, I argue that Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition is a critique of Kantian models of transcendental subjectivity and I explore the ethical, political, and epistemological consequences of this critique. I received my undergraduate degree from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, where I was awarded honors for my senior thesis, “Ethical Implications of Heidegger’s Ontology,” supervised by David Levine.

Prior to coming to Elmhurst College, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at DePaul University, American University, Albright College, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Villanova University.

At Elmhurst, I teach Business Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, Modern Philosophy, Kant’s Critical Philosophy, Critical Theories of Pornography, as well as our Formal Logic course (in the January term), and a First-Year Seminar entitled “Philosophy as Self-Cultivation. In addition to my teaching, I serve as the Assistant Director of the Honors Program, and I am the Director of the Elmhurst Intercultural Lecture Series.

Areas of Specialization

  • Continental Philosophy
  • Applied Ethics

Other Interests

  • Aesthetics
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Social & Political Philosophy

Office: Circle Hall, 118
Phone: (630) 617-3104
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