Philosophy, University of Oregon, USA

Fellowship : October 2017 to June 2018

Discipline(s) : Philosophy

Pays : USA

Research project : The Canon and the Critique: One Hundred Years of the Course in General Linguistics

Thanks to its over one hundred-year-long legacy, the Cours de linguistique générale /Course in General Linguistics (1916) attributed to Ferdinand de Saussure acquired the status of an indispensable ‘Great Book’ in contemporary scholarship in the humanities. This canonical text laid out an innovative research program in modern linguistics and it led to the development of a structuralist method in other human sciences, and it therefore occupies an important role in contemporary academic scholarship and college-level pedagogy. While the Course is justifiably enshrined within the contemporary canon of ideas, recent research in Saussurean linguistics offers multiple venues for developing a critical perspective on this foundational text. This groundbreaking research conducted mainly in France has remained confined to specialised academic venues and not nearly as popular and widely accessible as the Course itself. Beata Stawarska therefore proposes to author the first critical companion to the Course in General Linguistics that would appeal to a wide, international and interdisciplinary audience in the humanities, and reflect the relevant European scholarship on the legacy and validity of the Course today. This study would examine the production, reception, and replication of the Course as an official statement of Saussure’s linguistics by examining the dominant social relations of power within European academic institutions and the role social norms play in enabling as well as constraining the establishment of true knowledge in scientific disciplines. It would therefore contribute to a better understanding of Saussure’s linguistics and its social and institutional context.


Beata Stawarska is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon, USA. Her areas of expertise include contemporary European Philosophy, especially phenomenology and poststructuralism, French feminism, philosophy of language (broadly construed), and philosophical psychology. She engages thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Saussure, J. L. Austin, Beauvoir, Kristeva, Irigaray, and others. Stawarska has published two books: Between You and I: Dialogical Phenomenology and Saussure’s Philosophy of Language: Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics, as well as a number of essays in journals and chapters in anthologies. She is interested in topics such as embodiment, gender and sexual difference, social relations of power, oppression and resistance, expression and performativity, as well as the historiography of linguistics and the making (and re-making) of an established canon of philosophy. She is currently investigating the complex ways through which language reflects as well as subverts dominant relations of privilege and subordination in society, especially through the reclamation of hate speech by marginalised groups.

Major publications

STAWARSKA,Beata. Language as Poeisis. Linguistic Productivity and Forms of Resistance in Kristeva and Saussure. New Forms of Revolt: Kristeva’s Intimate Politics. Ed. Kelly Oliver, Rebecca Tuvel, and Sarah Hansen. SUNY Press, 2017.

 STAWARSKA,Beata.Saussure’s Philosophy of Language: Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics, Oxford UP, 2015.

STAWARSKA,Beata. Strange Life of a Sentence: Saussurean Doctrine and its Discontents. Philosophy Today. Vol. 59:2, 2015.

STAWARSKA,Beata. Between You and I: Dialogical Phenomenology, Ohio UP, 2009.

 STAWARSKA,Beata. From the Body Proper to Flesh: Merleau-Ponty on Intersubjectivity. Feminist Interpretations of Merleau-Ponty. (Feminists Read the Canon Series, ed. Nancy Tuana). Ed. Dorothea Olkowski and Gail Weiss. Penn State University Press, 2006.