About

I am the Postdoctoral Fellow of the Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University. I earned my Ph. D. in philosophy from Emory University in 2021. My areas of research and teaching specialization are nineteenth-century German philosophy and social and political thought. I am also interested in the areas of philosophy of nature, continental philosophy, Marxism, and Latin American decolonize philosophy. My current research project explores the meaning of decadence and decay as cultural, natural, and artistic phenomena.

I was born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up across the border in Cd. Juarez, Mexico. After my family emigrated to the U.S. when I turned fifteen, I spent my early adult years in Denver, Colorado. In 2012, I received B.A.’s in philosophy, history, and political science from the University of Colorado Denver. At UCD’s pluralistic philosophy department, I was trained in the history of philosophy, analytic philosophy, and continental thought. My interdisciplinary training exposed me early on to a variety of research and teaching methodologies.

At Emory, owing to its commitment to the liberal arts, I built a foundation in the history of philosophy as well as contemporary areas of inquiry, such as metaphysics, decolonial philosophy, and philosophy of nature. My training has been interdisciplinary and intersectional thanks to the close affiliation between the Philosophy Department and other graduate programs. During my years at Emory, I have fostered a relationship with the Institute for the Liberal Arts, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, and the Comparative Literature Department.

National Palace, Mexico City

I have been supported in my research by generous fellowships and a vibrant intellectual community. In 2013, I was awarded Laney Graduate School’s Diversity Fellowship. In 2016, I was selected to be a research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin, and a year later, I received a DAAD grant for German language training in Freiburg, Germany. Furthermore, In 2018 I was selected to partake in a year-long faculty-graduate student seminar on decolonial philosophy supported by Emory’s Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. Seeking to care for my intellectual community, I am a founding member of Emory’s Minorities and Philosophy chapter. MAP advocates for the success of underrepresented minorities in graduate school and promotes diversity and pluralism in syllabi and classrooms.

At W&L, I design courses that draw upon the Center’s interdisciplinary lecture series to evoke students’ imagination. As the Mudd Center’s Postdoctoral Fellow, I work closely with Director and the interdepartmental Advisory Board to design a yearly lecture series theme and publish a reading packet from invited speakers that meets the Center’s pluralistic commitments. In addition to helping coordinate speaker visits and publish editorials of their talks, in preparation for their visits, I help lead discussion sessions with the Mudd Center Faculty Fellows. Together with the undergraduate editorial team, I coordinate the publication of the Mudd Center Journal of Ethics and the Mudd Undergraduate Conference. I am active in W&L Bonner Program, a community-service initiative that serves underrepresented students. I am a faculty member of W&L’s Student Latinx Association, a continuation of my membership at Emory’s Minorities and Philosophy chapter and Latinx Student Association. 

My research interests are informed by my experience as a first-generation immigrant, especially my “border-town” childhood. Growing up accustomed to the crisis-prone, sometimes tumultuous circumstances inherent to border-town life provoked me to think about decadence and decay as cultural, artistic, even natural subject rather than prevailing moral approaches. In fact, it was my older brother who during our childhood wondered when the time might have been before what seemed to us like a permanent state of stagnation. This question still motivates my intellectual interest in a philosophical frame that could account for decadence and decay, Latin variants of “falling apart.” Out this experience, I was drawn towards German idealism, a philosophy with roots in the fragmented life of the 1800s and built to grapple with collapse, stagnation, and the meaning of rational, cultural, and political authority.

Besides theory, I enjoy photography, vinyl records, plant potting, and indie and folk music, in particular the Spanish singer-songwriter Nacho Vegas. In terms of literature, I especially like the work of Mexican writer Juan Rulfo. I love French cheeses and virtually any and all pastries.

For any questions, feel free to write me at oquinonez@wlu.edu