Feminist philosophers focus of senior research

“Feminist Epistemology: Knowing Through Stories” was presented by Morgan Makar ’19 of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, as part of her Department of Philosophy senior seminar course. Makar had a double major in business management and philosophy and a minor in criminal justice.

Her research was inspired by her own personal experience being a woman studying philosophy, a discipline historically dominated by men. Makar examined three feminist philosophers, Nancy Tuana, Lorraine Code and Sandra Harding, to determine how their personal lives impacted their proper understandings of feminist epistemology, the theory of knowledge.

Makar used a rubric inferred from the works of Judith Butler, an American philosopher and gender theorist whose work has influenced political philosophy ethics, and the fields of third-wave feminist, queer and literary theory. Makar also drew on autobiographies and philosophical works of the subjects. Makar’s greatest takeaway from her research is developing a true understanding of what it means to be a feminist.

Her presentation went well, and Makar believes “the time put into the preparation was well worth it. Presenting was still a little nerve-wracking, but I knew I had done my best to prepare for it.”

During her first year at Ripon, Makar took an introduction to philosophy course, which sparked her love for the subject that “encourages critical thinking about questions and topics that do not yet have definite answers,” she says.

“The program here at Ripon is awesome. Associate Professor of Philosophy Paul Jeffries genuinely cares for his students and wants to see them succeed; he was very helpful throughout my undergraduate career within the major and even my plans for after graduation,” Makar adds.

Makar was a four-year varsity tennis player and a member of Alpha Delta Pi, and she held leadership positions in several campus organizations. “I have never felt like there was something I could not do,” she says.

Next fall, Makar will attend either Marquette University Law School or Vermont Law School.

Dakota Marlega ’21
Waupaca, Wisconsin

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