Praxis Circle Contributor Ladelle McWhorter is the Stephanie Bennett-Smith Chair of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Emerita, at the University of Richmond. Her areas of expertise include 20th century French and German philosophy, queer theory, and political theory. Dr. McWhorter has been a prolific author for over twenty years, writing books, articles, papers, and book chapters. Praxis Circle interviewed Ladelle McWhorter because of her outstanding reputation as a professor, writer, and philosopher and her expertise in ethics, postmodernism, and poststructuralism.
Born and raised in Alabama during the era of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. McWhorter earned her B.A. in Philosophy from Birmingham-Southern College in 1982. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with both her M.A. (1985) and Ph.D. (1986) in Philosophy. She spent several summers studying abroad while pursuing her degrees: one summer at St. John’s College in the British Studies at Oxford program, two summers at the Collegium Phenomenologicum in Perugia, Italy; and one summer at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria at a German language institute.
Dr. McWhorter began her teaching career while studying at Vanderbilt as an Instructor of Philosophy (1983-1986); during the 1983-84 academic year she simultaneously taught and was the Coordinator of the Philosophy Department’s The McGill Project. She was an Assistant, and then Associate, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Truman State University (then Northeast Missouri State University) in Kirksville, Missouri from 1986 – 1992. In 1992, Dr. McWhorter came to UR as an Associate Professor of Philosophy. The title of Associate Professor of Women’s Studies was added to her title in 1997 and in 1999, she was promoted to Full Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies. In 2010, she also became a Professor of Environmental Studies. Dr. McWhorter served as chair of the Department of Philosophy from 1996 – 1999.