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College of Arts and Letters | Michigan State University

Marilyn Frye

University Distinguished Professor
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Letters

Marilyn Frye received the BA with honors in philosophy from Standford University in 1963. She received the PhD in Philosophy at Cornell University in 1969. Before coming to Michigan State in 1974, she taught in the Philosophy Department at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2008 she was the Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Lecturer.

She is author of two books of essays in feminist theory: The Politics of Reality (1983) and Willful Virgin (1992), both published by The Crossing Press. Since then she has been working to understand what the category WOMEN is, and what social categories generally are. This work has been published in the following papers:

"The Possibility of Feminist Theory,"  in Willful Virgin.

"The Necessity of Differences: Constructing a Positive Category of Women," in SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol.21, No.3, Summer 1996, pp. 991-1010.

"Essentialism/Ethnocentrism: The Failure of the Ontological Cure," in Is Academic Feminism Dead? Theory in Practice, edited by the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota. NYU Press, 2000.

"Categories and Dichotomies," Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories, edited by Loraine Code (NY:Routledge, 2000).

“Categories in Distress,” in Feminist Interventions in Ethics and Politics, eds., Barbara S. Andrew, Jean Keller, and Lisa H. Schwartzman. New York: Rowman and Littlefield,  2005.

“Category Skepticism and its Cure: A Comment on José Medina’s ‘Identity Trouble: Disidentification and the Problem of Difference’,” Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy, Volume 1, Number 1, May 2005.