Public Policy

Jennifer Gaffney

Assistant Professor




Campus Box 0404


Weidensall Hall
Room 306
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400


PhD Texas A&M University, Philosophy, 2016
MA Texas A&M University, History, 2014
BA Rhodes College, Philosophy, 2009

Academic Focus

Social and Political Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Philosophy of Race, Ethics, History of Philosophy

Jennifer Gaffney joined the Gettysburg Philosophy Department in 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. in philosophy and her M.A. in history from Texas A&M University. Dr. Gaffney's interests are in social and political philosophy with emphases in continental philosophy, philosophy of race, ethics, and the history of philosophy. Her current research focuses on political philosopher Hannah Arendt and examines questions concerning the exclusion of diasporic people from the modern liberal state, citizenship, and the politics of historical memory. Dr. Gaffney places a high value on multidisciplinary approaches to addressing these philosophical questions. In her own work, she draws on research that she has conducted in the discipline of history on the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) to consider the scope and limits of Arendt’s thought for addressing the global impact of the European legacy of slavery and colonization on political life today.

One of Dr. Gaffney’s principal aims as a teacher is to provide students with a platform to challenge their inherited beliefs about the world in order to cultivate and take ownership of their own ideas. She encourages active, thoughtful, and critical engagement in the classroom and designs her courses around seminal texts in the western philosophical tradition, as well as some of the most significant critical works and alternative perspectives on this tradition. Her courses emphasize the relevance of philosophical thinking by developing these texts in light of contemporary issues that have pressing significance today. Dr. Gaffney’s courses include Philosophy of Race, Ethics, Existentialism, Philosophy of Art, Social and Political Philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy, and Contemporary Moral Issues. She will be teaching Senior Seminar in Spring 2018, focusing on the philosophical significance of the Trump era, and she plans to design courses on the politics of historical memory and the philosophy of history in the coming year.

Dr. Gaffney’s most recent publications include “Memories of Exclusion: Hannah Arendt and the Haitian Revolution,” (forthcoming in Philosophy and Social Criticism), “Arendt and Imperialism” (forthcoming in The Bloomsbury Companion to Hannah Arendt), “Another Origin of Totalitarianism: Arendt on the Loneliness of Liberal Citizens,” (Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Vol. 47.1, 2016), and “Can A Language Go Mad: Arendt and Derrida on the Political Significance of the Mother Tongue” (Philosophy Today, Vol. 59.3, 2015). Her current book project, entitled Political Loneliness: Modern Liberal Subjects in Hiding (Rowman & Littlefield International, delivery in January 2019), offers a political interpretation of the concept of loneliness to examine the forms the alienation that make possible the ascendance of right-wing populism. She is the co-founder and Associate Editor of Arendt Studies: A Journal for Research on the Life, Work, and Legacy of Hannah Arendt and served as the director of the Hannah Arendt Circle in 2017. She also served as the Assistant to the Editor of Epoche: A Journal for the History of Philosophy in 2014 and the Assistant Director of the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in 2011.