Dr. Sarah Pessin is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at the University of Denver (DU) where she also serves as Interfaith Chair and incoming Faculty Senate President (Spring 2020-2022). She served as the Director of the Center for Judaic Studies from 2008-2019, helped design the campus’ Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site, has held the Everding Distinguished Lectureship from Iliff School of Theology and St. John’s Cathedral (2016), and serves as the Team Leader for DU’s Religious Inclusivity Initiative.
In her research on philosophical ethics, pluralism, and the “politics of responsibility,” Sarah is interested in unquantifiable dimensions of inter-human responsivity and response, and in understanding and developing models of civic engagement that include living uncomfortably with real difference.
Her current projects include new courses in the philosophy of religion and race, and book projects on interfaith civics, the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, and responsibility in civics.
Her interdisciplinary research focuses on (1) philosophies and phenomenologies of alterity, exile, and “difficult hope,” (2) Levinasian responsibility with implications for rethinking contemporary American civics (connected to her “Hate & Protect” project that has been receiving attention), and (3) Greek, Jewish, and Islamic Neoplatonic insights on goodness.
Sarah has presented and published widely, including a study of receptivity and desire in Jewish and Greek philosophy (Cambridge, 2013), a co-edited multicultural reader in medieval philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2019), and chapters for key reference works in her fields, including the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy, the Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy, the Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy, and the Routledge Companion to Islamic Philosophy.
Sarah holds a PhD in Philosophy from The Ohio State University, and an MA in Philosophy from Columbia University. She did her undergraduate work at Stern College of Yeshiva University.
She is currently on Sabbatical (Fall 2019-Summer 2020).