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Morris B. Kaplan

Professor of Philosophy

Research Interests



  • “A Queer Orientalism: Reframing The Hermit of Peking”, a study of the unpublished ‘memoirs’ of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse
  • “Arendt’s Law: Building Borders Between Private and Public”
  • “Figures of Law in Foucault, Derrida, and Butler”

Representative Courses

Ancient Greek philosophy (History of Philosophy I, Plato Seminar); 19th and 20th century continental philosophy (Phenomenology to Deconstruction, Heidegger/Arendt Seminar, Nietzsche Seminar, Responsibility and Judgment: Postwar European Philosophy); Theories of Sexuality; Shakespeare and Philosophy



  • Sodom on the Thames: Love, Lust and Scandal in Wilde Times. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005)
  • Sexual Justice: Democratic Citizenship and the Politics of Desire, (NY: Routledge, 1997)

Representative articles

“’Absent Friends!’ Scenes of Address and an Ethic of Self-making”, Columbia Journal of Law and Gender, 21:2, pp 182-202 (2012).

  • “Hate Crime and the Privatization of Political Responsibility: Protecting Queer Citizens in the US?” University of Liverpool Law Review, special issue on violence, ed., Leslie Moran, 2008
  • “Literature in the Dock: The Trials of Oscar Wilde”, The Journal of Law and Society, March 2004
  • “Legal Fictions and Family Romances: Contesting Paradigms of Child Placement” in Stephen Macedo and Iris Marion Young, eds., NOMOS XVLIV: Child, Family and State, (NY: New York University Press, 2003)

  • Liberte! Egalite! Sexualite! Theorizing Lesbian and Gay Politics,” Political Theory, 25:3, 401-433, June 1997
“Refiguring the Jewish Question: Arendt, Proust, and the Politics of Sexuality” in B.Honig, ed., Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt, (State College, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995).

  • “Intimacy and Equality: The Question of Lesbian and Gay Marriage,” The Philosophical Forum., 25:4, 333-369, Summer 1994; repr., Shane Phelan, ed., Playing With Fire: Queer Politics, Queer Theories (NY: Routledge, 1996)