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Sherri Irvin

College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy, The University of Oklahoma website wordmark
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Sherri Irvin

Sherri Irvin

Associate Dean of the Graduate College 

Presidential Research Professor of Philosophy and Women's and Gender Studies

Ph.D., Princeton
Research areas: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Race


I specialize in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. My interests range widely, but I have written quite a bit on matters related to contemporary art and on aesthetic experience in everyday life. I am currently completing Immaterial: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art (under contract with Oxford University Press), in which I argue for a view of the ontology of contemporary artworks and demonstrate the view’s relevance for art appreciation and museum practice. My edited collection Body Aesthetics (Oxford, 2016) is a multi-authored collection that treats the aesthetics of the body in relation to social justice, art, evolutionary theory, race, gender, disability, sexuality and sport.

I have a strong interest in the philosophy of race, in which I regularly teach an undergraduate course. My current research in this area pertains to the role of images, particularly moving images of police violence, in promoting or undermining racial justice.

I serve on the editorial boards of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art CriticismPhilosophy Compass, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Recent Courses

  • PHIL 1713 Justice in Society
  • PHIL 3023 Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • PHIL 3753 Philosophy and Race
  • PHIL 4023/5023 Survey of Analytic Aesthetics
  • PHIL 6023 Seminar: Aesthetics and Social Justice
  • PHIL 6593 Seminar: The Ontology of Art
  • PHIL 6593 Seminar: The Philosophy of Contemporary Art
  • PHIL 6970 Seminar: Social Construction and the Ontology of Art

Awards and Honors

  • Humanities Forum Fellowship, 2018-2019
  • Ed Cline Faculty Development Award, University of Oklahoma, 2016
  • Women's and Gender Studies Faculty Research Award, University of Oklahoma, 2015
  • Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship, University of Oklahoma, 2013-2014
  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2013
  • Seventh Annual Parodi Lecture in the Philosophy of Art, Miami Art Museum and University of Miami, 2010
  • Irene Rothbaum Award for the Outstanding Assistant Professor in Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma, 2008
  • Museum Management and Curatorship Best Paper Award in the Curatorship category, 2006
  • American Society for Aesthetics John Fisher Memorial Prize, 2005

Selected Publications

  • Body Aesthetics (edited collection), Oxford University Press, 2016
  • Immaterial: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art, a single-authored monograph under contract with Oxford University Press. (chapter 1 draft .pdf) (chapter 2 draft .pdf).
  • Repeatable Artworks and the Relevant Similarity Relation,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 52 (2018).
  • "Resisting Body Oppression," Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 (2017).
  • "Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects: A Feminist Reclamation of Sexiness," with Sheila Lintott. To appear in Body Aesthetics, ed. Sherri Irvin (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 9000 words. (draft .pdf)
  • "Unreadable Poems and How They Mean." The Philosophy of Poetry, ed. John Gibson (Oxford University Press, 2015). 8000 words. (draft .pdf)
  • "Is Aesthetic Experience Possible?" Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind, ed. Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran and Aaron Meskin (Oxford University Press, 2014). 7500 words. (draft .pdf)
  • "Body." Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2014). 3000 words. (draft .pdf)
  • "Contemporary Art: Ontology." Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2014). 2000 words. (draft .pdf)
  • "Sculpture." Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, 3rd ed., ed. Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (Routledge, 2013), 606-615. (draft .pdf)
  • "Installation Art and Performance: A Shared Ontology." Art and Abstract Objects, ed. Christy Mag Uidhir (Oxford, 2013), 242-262.
  • "Artwork and Document in the Photography of Louise Lawler." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (2012), 79-90. (draft .pdf)
  • "Artworks, Objects and Structures." The Continuum Companion to Aesthetics, ed. Anna Christina Ribeiro (Continuum, 2012), 55-73. (draft .pdf)
  • "Motherhood and the Workings of Disgust." Maternal Subjects: Philosophical Inquiry into Pregnancy, Childbirth & Mothering, ed. Sheila Lintott and Maureen Sander-Staudt (Routledge, 2011), 79-90. (draft .pdf)
  • "Aesthetics as a Guide to Ethics." Aesthetics Today: A Reader, ed. Robert Stecker and Theodore Gracyk (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 370-377. (draft .pdf)
  • "Theatrical Performances and the Works Performed." Journal of Aesthetic Education 43 (2009), 37-50. (draft .pdf)
  • "Aesthetics and the Private Realm." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (2009), 226-230. (draft .pdf)
  • "Aesthetics of the Everyday." A Companion to Aesthetics (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy), 2nd edition, ed. Stephen Davies, Kathleen Higgins, Robert Hopkins, Robert Stecker and David Cooper (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 136-139. (draft .pdf)
  • "The Ontological Diversity of Visual Artworks." New Waves in Aesthetics, ed. Kathleen Stock and Katherine Thomson-Jones (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 1-19. (.pdf)
  • "The Pervasiveness of the Aesthetic in Ordinary Experience." British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2008), 29-44. (draft .pdf)
  • "Scratching an Itch." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2008), 25-35. (draft .pdf)
  • "Forgery and the Corruption of Aesthetic Understanding." Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (2007), 283-304. (draft .pdf)
  • "L’œuvre d’art et l’intention de l’artiste." Dictionnaire d'esthétique et de philosophie de l'art, ed. Jacques Morizot and Roger Pouivet (Paris: Colin, 2007), 251-254. (draft .pdf)
  • "Museums and the Shaping of Contemporary Artworks." Museum Management and Curatorship 21 (2006), 143-156. (draft .pdf)
  • "Authors, Intentions and Literary Meaning." Philosophy Compass 1 (2006), 114-128. (.pdf)
  • "The Artist’s Sanction in Contemporary Art." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (2005), 315-326. (draft .pdf)
  • "Appropriation and Authorship in Contemporary Art." British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (2005), 123-137. (draft .pdf)
  • "Interprétation et description d’une œuvre d’art." Philosophiques 32 (2005), 135-148. (.pdf)
  • "Artworks and Representational Properties." Dialogue 43 (2004), 627-644. (draft .pdf)
  • "Capacities, Context and the Moral Status of Animals." Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (2004), 61-76. (draft .pdf)
  • "Does Contemporary Art Have Cognitive Value?AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal8 (2003).