Campus Advisory Classes are in session remotely through the end of spring semester and for summer session I. Our satellite centers in Manhattan, Hudson Valley and Suffolk County are closed; however, all staff and units are accessible remotely. Adelphi's Garden City campus is operational with only essential personnel on-site. » COVID-19 Response

Coronavirus Updates on Operations: Department or campus operations may be modified during this time. Please call or email the department for more information or visit



Wednesday, September 19, 2018
1:00–2:00 p.m.


University Center 201

The Ethics and Politics of Curiosity

Across the history of philosophy, curiosity is classically defined as the desire to know. And in everyday parlance, curiosity is taken to signify the open processes of questioning and investigating. In practice, however, curiosity often loses its inquisitive edge. Curiosity can get stuck; it can become disciplined and sedimented over time. In this talk, I analyze the ethical and political stakes of rigidified methods, objects, and even subjects of inquiry. Drawing on archives of political resistance from the Disability Rights Movement and the Transgender Rights Movement, I propose that one way to keep curiosity curious is this: attend to “subjugated knowledges.” In doing so, the very contours of inquiry are made accountable to experiences incommensurate with dominant paradigms and therefore remain fundamentally flexible. 

Perry Zurn is assistant professor of philosophy at American University. He researches broadly in the fields of political philosophy, gender theory, and applied ethics. His essays and translations have appeared in venues such as the Carceral Notebooks, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, Modern and Contemporary France, philoSOPHIA, Radical Philosophy Review, and Zetesis. Zurn is the author of The Politics of Curiosity (University of Minnesota Press, under contract) and the co-author of Curious Minds (MIT Press, under contract). He is the co-editor of Curiosity Studies: Toward a New Ecology of Knowledge (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming), Intolerable: Writings from Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group, 1970-1980 (University of Minnesota Press, under contract), Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition (Palgrave, 2015), and a special issue of Carceral Notebooks (2017). Zurn is also committed to diversity work. He served as the sophomore cohort Program Manager for the McNair Scholars Program at DePaul University (2011-2015), a member of the American Philosophical Association’s Diversity Institute Advisory Panel (2015-2018), and now serves as chair of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on LGBT People in the Profession (2018-2021).

For more information, please contact:

Shawn Kaplan
e –

Coronavirus Update: As New York is on a "pause" for social distancing purposes, all in-person events for the next several weeks have been converted to online, postponed or canceled. Please check this page as information will be updated as possible—and call ahead before any upcoming in-person events until further notice. Thanks.