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Mary Caputi

My research interests are in the areas of feminist and critical theories, psychoanalysis, postcolonial scholarship, and American and cultural studies. In both my writing and teaching, I take an interdisciplinary approach, since such an approach best captures the richness and relevance of theoretical insight to the larger cultural context.  I recently published A Kinder, Gentler America: Melancholia and the Mythical 1950s (University of Minnesota Press, 2005), which employs a theory of melancholia to examine the neoconservative idealization of the 1950s within contemporary American political culture.   My first book, Voluptuous Yearnings: A Feminist Theory of the Obscene (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 1994), offers a reading of the category of the obscene using the lens of feminist and critical theories.  My most recent article, “The Parergonal Politics of Barack Obama,” offers a Derridean interpretation of Obama’s approach to negotiating with America’s “enemies.”  It will appear in Philosophy and Social Criticism.  I am currently at work on two book projects: one, a co-edited project that assesses the contributions of Derridean philosophy to the current crisis in the liberal arts, and two, a book-length manuscript that uses critical theory to critique certain strains of third wave feminism..

At California State University, Long Beach, I teach a variety of courses in political theory and critical thinking.  These include Introduction to Critical Thinking, Ancient Political Thought, Modern Political Theory, Recent Political Theory, Women in Political Theory, and the Senior and Graduate Seminars in Political Theory.  In the classroom as in my writing, I try to engage my audience by demystifying theory and illustrating its intimate relationship to everyday life.

Curriculum Vitae

Professor of Political Science
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840-4605
Phone: (562) 985-4702
Fax: (562) 985-4979