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Natalie Nenadic

Research Interests:
Post-Kantian Phil.
French Enlightenment Phil
Hist. Phil. Science
Social and Political Philosophy
Philosophy of Technology
Mentoring Students

Undergraduate award won by student in my Philosophy of Law course:

Breathitt Lecture Award

  • Ph.D. Yale University (Philosophy, dissertation advisor: Karsten Harries)
  • M.Phil Yale University (Philosophy and History)
  • M.A. Yale University (Philosophy)
  • M.A. Yale University (History)
  • University of Michigan Law School (two-year Research Scholar position, working with Catharine MacKinnon)
  • B.A. Stanford

<em>A couple sits to reflect while visiting “IN AMERICA How Could This Happen…” in fall 2020. A team from GW, UMD and Artist Suzanne Firstenberg created a digital exhibition that now gives others the chance to visit the site virtually (Credit: Bruce Guthrie)</em>

My research and teaching bring together, in mutually illuminating ways, the ideas of major thinkers of the philosophical canon and contemporary topics in feminism, law, genocide studies, and international justice, including the #MeToo movement and, most recently, the present threat to American democracy, criminal responsibility for the January 6 attempted coup, and criminal responsibility for avoidable mass Covid-19 deaths.

Research on the current crisis:

My research priority is to address the current threat to American democracy by contributing to efforts to uphold the rule of law and restore trust in democratic institutions, including the 2024 election.

To this end, my principal project works on a solution to the key shortcoming in the January 6 Committee Hearings’ evidence for criminal prosecution, which is its inability to counter Trump’s legal defense that his January 6 speech and Tweets are free speech. I synthesize the insights of experts on authoritarian personality (e.g., Dr. Bandy Lee’s Yale Duty to Warn Conference and The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President) with philosophical insights about digital technology (Heidegger), authoritarian politics (Arendt), and language to arrive at new understanding. I use it to show how a charismatic strongman weaponizes the emotional vulnerabilities of followers such that, with Tweets, these followers become a human weapon. And, in light of this new understanding, I reinterpret our assumptions about free speech and criminal commands to make Trump’s speech visible as prosecutable criminal commands.

This project is informed by my philosophical-legal background in coming up with the concept of sexual atrocities as genocide – a crime that throughout history had been “invisible” – and enlisting and working with attorney, Catharine MacKinnon, to reinterpret law in light of this new understanding to prosecute this crime for the first time (Kadic v. Karadzic), in a development that affected its prosecution at subsequent International Tribunals (former Yugoslavia, Rwanda). Most recently, I describe that work in my forthcoming article “Charting an Invisible Domain: Travel and the Genesis of the Concept of Sexual Atrocities as Genocide.” This article is part of a book-in-progress, tentatively entitled Charting a New Domain: Philosophy, the Genesis of the Concept of Sexual Atrocities as Genocide, and Law, about the untold and sine qua non role of philosophy in yielding this conceptual and legal breakthrough.

This book project also concurrently addresses a crisis today within academic philosophy about what it even understands philosophy to be. In recent history, the profession has largely marginalized philosophy from its traditionally central place in contemporary culture and from its traditional vocation of offering a new conceptual purchase on a current world problem, a purchase that now allows us to see some otherwise invisible aspect of that problem. The governing academic philosophy accomplished this marginalization by redefining philosophy as no longer connected with other disciplines that are on the pulse of such problems and as no longer in need of the wisdom of philosophy’s past, in the variety of traditions and cultures that exist in the history of philosophy. This development especially severed us from discovering how to creatively use past thought to help us come up with the original thinking that a contemporary crisis demands, just as major thinkers in the history of philosophy used their past and insights from other disciplines to aid them in coming up with the original thinking that a crisis of their time demanded.

I have been a recipient of an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellowship, a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship in Ethics, a Fulbright Scholarship, and was offered a Hannah Arendt Center Fellowship.

Selected Presentations

"January 6 and Breaking the 'Home' of America's Democracy: A Strongman, Technology, and Speech, Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT) Annual Conference, University of Seattle (September 2023)

"Gender Equality, Violence against Women, and Social Media Technology: Towards a New Global Narrative," Workshop on Dialogue Between Civilizations on Global Commons, The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Vatican City (June 2023)

"Dao Holism, Hermeneutical Phenomenology, and the Current Crisis in Western Philosophy: Towards Philosophy that is Genuinely Relevant to Global Challenges," East and West Philosophy in Dialogue -- From Worldview to Sustainable Order, The Pari Center, Italy (June 2023)

"Hermeneutical Phenomenology and the Pre-Cognitive, Practical, and Historical Sources of Concepts," Interlacing Concepts and Practices: Phenomenological Perspectives in Dialogue with Pragmatism and Analytic Philosophy, University of Padua, Italy (June 2023)

“The ‘Trump Pandemic’: How Did He Kill So Many Americans?,” American Philosophical Association (APA) Pacific Division Meeting, San Francisco (April 2023); Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT) Annual Conference, University of San Francisco (September 2022)

“Over 700,000 Covid-19 Deaths, the Insurrection, and It’s Not Over: Trump’s Pathological Narcissism and the Method to the ‘Madness,’” Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT) Annual Conference, University of Hawaii, Hilo, (September 2021, withdrew, conflict) 

“Justice is Integral to Renewal and Recovery from the ‘Trump Pandemic,’” American College, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Online (May 2021)

“The ‘Trump Pandemic’: Pathological Narcissism and Psychopathy as a ‘New’ Means of Perpetrating Crimes Against Humanity,” Southwest Seminar in Continental Philosophy, Online, (May 2021)

“Legal Responsibility for Mass Covid-19 Deaths in America?” Presentation on a panel on, Publicly Engaged Scholarship, University of Kentucky, Online (April 2021)

“Hauntings, the January 6 Insurrection, and De-coding How a Psychopath Issues Criminal Commands,” Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT), Online, (February 2021) 

“Philosophy, Covid-19 in America, and Race,” Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT), Online, (August 2020)

“Thinking with Heidegger in the Age of Coronavirus in America: Trump and a ‘New’ Method of Genocide,” Heidegger Circle, Online, (August 2020)

“Raphael Lemkin, Phenomenology, and the Concept of Genocide,” Society for the Philosophic Study of Genocide and the Holocaust, in association with the American Philosophical Association Central Division, Chicago (February 2020)

“Hannah Arendt, Genocide, and the Task of Philosophy: Between Hermeneutic Phenomenology and Logical Positivism,” Society for Phenomenology and The Human Sciences, in conjunction with the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Pittsburgh (October 2019)

"Tourism as Transformative Experience," International Symposium: Tourism and Culture in Philosophical Perspective, Hvar, Croatia (October 2019)

"Philosophy, History, and 'Fishes in the Sea,'" Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT), Seattle University (September 2019)

"Catharine MacKinnon's Thought as Philosophy," Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) Conference - Ireland, University College Dublin (May 2018)

"Philosophy in Search of Itself: Reflections on Robert C. Scharff's How History Matters to Philosophy: Rethinking Philosophy's Past After Positivism," (Invited) Panel on his book, Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Memphis (October 2017)

"Modern Freedom, Technology, and Pornography: A Feminist and Heideggerian Analysis," Southwest Seminar in Continental Philosophy, California State Univ Northridge (June 2017)

"Philosophy, Genocide, and Sexual Atrocities," (Invited) NEH Challenge Grant Colloquium on "Gender, Mass Violence, and Genocide," Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York (October 2015)

"Heidegger and the Ubiquity and Invisibility of Pornography in the Internet Age," Presented as part of a panel I organized "Gender, Justice, and Gestell: New Beginnings" at the Heidegger Circle Annual Meeting, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore (May 2015)

"Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism, and Continental Philosophy," (Invited) Panel celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Catharine MacKinnon's Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, American Philosophical Association (APA) Pacific Division Meeting, Vancouver (April 2015)

"Heidegger, Pornography, and Technology: Rethinking Freedom in the Age of the Internet," Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) -- Ireland, University College Dublin (November 2014)

"Pornography and the Ambivalence of Modernity: A Heideggerian Critique," Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT), Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles (October 2014)

"Sexual Violence and Objectification: A Heideggerian Historical Analysis from Aristotle to Enlightenment Political Thought," American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Chicago (Aug.-Sept. 2013); also presented as an invited lecture at Kennesaw State University, Georgia (November 2012)

"Pornography, Technology, and Closing off the Possibilities of Authentic Mitsein," Conference on "Discovering the 'We': The Phenomenology of Sociality," University College Dublin, Ireland (May 2013); also presented a version at the Annual Meeting of the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (March 2013)

Organized and moderated "A Conversation with Karsten Harries" at The 47th Annual Meeting of the Heidegger Circle, New Haven, CT (May 2013)

"The Imperative of 'Thinking' After Auschwitz: The Genealogy of the Concept of Genocidal Rape," Society for the Philosophical Study of Genocide and the Holocaust at the American Philosophical Association (APA) Central Division Meeting, New Orleans (February 2013)

"Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: Wollstonecraft contra Rousseau contra Aristotle," Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Boston (November 2012)

"Hannah Arendt, the United Nations, and the Srebrenica (Bosnia) Genocide," International Political Science Association World Congress, Madrid, Spain (July 2012)

  • What is Philosophy? (graduate seminar, Fall 2023)
  • Hannah Arendt, COVID-19, and Thinking in Dark Times (graduate seminar, Spring 2021)
  • History and Science in Post-Kantian Philosophy (grad/upper division, Fall 2022, Spring 2019)
  • Philosophy, Context, and History (graduate seminar, Fall 2019)
  • Phenomenology (graduate/upper division, Fall 2019)
  • Philosophy of Law: Arendt and International Justice (graduate/upper division)
  • Philosophy of Law: Catharine MacKinnon (graduate/upper division)
  • Philosophy of Law: Sex Equality (graduate/upper division)
  • Heidegger, Philosophy, and Nazism (graduate seminar)
  • Heidegger's Being and Time (graduate seminar)
  • Advanced Topics in Ethics: Arendt with Heidegger (also covering Hegel, graduate/upper division)
  • Existentialism (graduate/upper division)
  • Hegel
  • Modernity, Pornography, Sex Equality (graduate seminar, Heidegger-oriented)
  • Social Theory Graduate Seminar: Justice (co-taught with faculty from Literature, Sociology, and Anthropology)
  • Epistemology and Ethics (upper division)
  • Philosophy, Law, and the #Me Too Movement (Spring 2020, 2019)
  • Business Ethics (Spring 2023, Spring 2024)
  • Introduction to Legal Philosophy
  • Introduction to Feminism and Philosophy
  • Philosophy and Pornography
  • Ethics
  • Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Architecture
  • Historical Perspectives on the Holocaust


PHI 509 History and Science in Post-Kantian Philosophy (Fall 2022, Spring 2019)

This course centers on principal figures of Post-Kantian Philosophy as treated in Robert C. Scharff’s recent book How History Matters to Philosophy: Reconsidering Philosophy’s Past After Positivism (2015). Some of these figures include Dilthey, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Charles Taylor, and Richard Rorty. We examine how they reassert philosophy’s identity as a historical-humanistic enterprise distinct from the natural sciences, at a time when philosophy was losing its identity as the source of the sciences and was becoming, instead, an emulator of (an idea of) science. Moreover, philosophy was on a path to being reduced to logic and having little to do with life and existential concerns. We explore how they navigate a relation to scientific epistemology in their efforts to spell out an epistemology appropriate to philosophy. In this examination, we interrogate what these figures understood philosophy to be and how they did it. We thereby also appreciate some differences between academic philosophy and how these (and other) canonical figures understood philosophy’s vocation, differences that center on situated knowing of contemporary crises and generative relationships with philosophy’s past.

Student reviews:

  • Perhaps my favorite course in all my philosophical studies. The text was PERFECT; I WANTED to read it. I just really appreciated this class
  • This is the second class I’ve had with prof. Nenadic and with both her enthusiasm for the topic and knowledge of the content made being engaged in class easy. phenomenal professor.
  • [The professor is] very enthusiastic and passionate about the material. This helped everyone become more interested in it.
  • Dr. Nenadic knew the material inside and out, and was able to tie it to real world research…
  • Dr. Nenadic prioritizes her students and it shows. She is very helpful and accommodating to different learning styles.
  • The professor was extremely patient and understanding. The course material was difficult to understand, so she did a wonderful job at presenting the material and breaking it down bit-by-bit for the students.
  • Very knowledgeable. Very respectful to students.
  • I think she is probably one of the best professors that I know.


PHI 340 Introduction to Feminism and Philosophy (Fall 2023, Spring 2023)

This course introduces students to treating feminist topics in a philosophical way. This means examining how experiences, which mainly (though not only) affect women and girls, have pushed us to rethink our understanding of matters such as human nature, freedom, awareness of oppression, and notions of victims and survivors. We trace how these experiences have led us to come up with new concepts that now help us see discrimination, abuses, and inequalities that, before, weren’t widely seen and were covered up. We also explore how these new concepts have spurred changes in law and in society.

To this end, this course focuses on feminist topics surrounding the #MeToo Movement such as sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and discrimination in the workplace and in education. We also explore how concepts from psychology such as narcissistic personality and sociopathy may help us better understand these experiences.


PHI 715 Hannah Arendt, COVID-19, and Thinking in Dark Times (Graduate Seminar, Spring 2021)

This course centers on close readings of Hannah Arendt’s major works The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil as well as key essays. Her thought analyzes major political crises of our era focused on authoritarian government -- from totalitarian systems (Nazism and communism) to other types of dictatorship. We will cover her treatment of such topics as: how societies slip into authoritarianism; concurrent shifts in societal and moral norms; systemic inequality, racism, and anti-Semitism; questions of law, criminality, evil, and legal accountability; and ethics and personal responsibility. Arendt evinces the idea that philosophy or thinking is most needed in times of crisis to help us understand and navigate them and that it emanates from a multidisciplinary proximity to these developments and through knowledge of the past that resonates with them. In this way, we will consider how her thought may help us make sense of today’s extraordinary times. We will center on the unique experience of COVID-19 in the United States and will include topics such as its disproportionate health and economic effects on communities of color, Native American nations, and women and its intersections with Black Lives Matter.

Student reviews:

  • Dr. Nenadic has a particular orientation towards philosophy: namely, that it should be about the way we think about and love our lives. It should always be tied to experience, to understanding our moment, ourselves, and ourselves-in-our-moment. She refuses to do philosophy at an overly detached level from real life. As a result, her courses teach me so much about myself and my world. I think she is absolutely wonderful and I greatly admire her dedication.
  • The instructor designed the course so that we would be synthesizing work from the history of philosophy with work in contemporary (and philosophically attuned) psychology, social science, and history. It was a really innovative seminar and served as an exemplar for how to do innovative philosophy that is relevant to life.
  • Dr. Nenadic is an excellent teacher who cares about the material as well as her students. She was extremely encouraging and supportive in helping students develop their own projects.
  • …the Professor encouraged us to think personally and creatively about the way in which philosophy is extremely important for making sense of our current political moment.
  • It has been hugely instructive to participate in a collaborative process of destructive retrieval that is aimed at understanding a current crisis. It is heartening to be part of a course that deals with pressing issues – not just ‘issues’ in a scholarly sense, but existentially pressing real-world problems.


PHI 516 Phenomenology (Graduate/upper division, Spring 2021, Fall 2019)

This course introduces students to phenomenology, a largely late 19th century and early 20th century development in philosophy. We center on phenomenology as a response to modern philosophy’s increasing removal of philosophy from life concerns, from other disciplines, and from the great works of its past. We examine how phenomenology reasserted that philosophical problems arise from worldly challenges and crises in their multifaceted expressions and how it cast the relationship between those problems and philosophy’s past. The principal figures we cover are Dilthey, Husserl, and Heidegger, with a focus on the development of Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology in its connections to Dilthey’s beginnings and in its distinction from Husserl’s phenomenology. We conclude by considering philosophy so understood in relation to the multiple crises we are currently in the middle of such as Covid-19, erosion of democratic institutions, Black Lives Matter, and sex inequality.

Student reviews:

  • She brought an excitement that spread through the entire class for a solid 3 months. I felt guilty if I missed one class because of how much I learned in an hour.
  • I wouldn’t “change” any aspects of the instructor or how the instructor approached the class. Dr. Nenadic even arranged it so that the author of the book we were reading visited the class and led us in a discussion. She went above and beyond to make the classroom a place where we felt valued and that our contributions were heard and mattered.
  • The professor allowed us to meet with the author of the text and my God did that inspire me. What an amazing course
  • Her willingness to answer any question and rephrase a concept in several ways was I think what made my success in this course possible.
  • PHI 516 covered foundational ideas in a way I had not encountered before, because most other courses neglect the crucial foundational questions that were the focus of this course. The professor did a stellar job keeping us grounded in the core motivating questions of the course, too. PHI 516 has been a unique and amazingly consequential learning experience for that reason.
  • Dr. Nenadic was very kind and knowledgeable.
  • I would change nothing she is a star.


PHI 680 Philosophy, Context, and History (Graduate Seminar, Fall 2019)

Since the rise of modern science and its aspiration to a God’s-eye view, in philosophy we have seen both an emulation of this stance (or some version of it) as well as an increasingly explicit grappling with the contextual and historical nature of thinking. The latter preoccupied 19th century philosophers such as Dilthey and Nietzsche, who considered that stance impossible for philosophy (and ultimately for science) without the alternative being relativism, and culminated in the early 20th century works of Heidegger. More recently, within analytic philosophy, post-positivists have also raised questions of context and history in philosophy. We examine this variety of considerations of the situatedness of thought and its ties to the past. We address issues of epistemology, ontology, and ultimately how we understand the nature and task of philosophy. Figures we may treat include Descartes, Comte, Dilthey, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Rorty, and Taylor. The course will center on analysis from Robert Scharff’s How History Matters to Philosophy: Reconsidering Philosophy’s Past After Positivism (2014).

Student review

  • Well, the course content itself was very, very helpful. In particular, it connected the way of an inquiry to the being of the inquirer, and that was just fantastic. PHI 680 was the kind of course that challenges you to not just learn new bits of content, but challenges you to confront yourself as an inquirer and how you understanding yourself in how you do inquiry, and how that self-understanding is intimately connected to how you proceed in inquiry. For me, it brought to light things that were previously invisible. In addition to teaching me all-new things, the perspectives and materials provided by Dr. Nenadic and also my classmates helped me better understand things I’ve been struggling to understand – and even articulate at all – for literally a decade, since when I was in graduate school for an entirely different discipline. This was a terrific class.


UKC 182 Philosophy, Law, and the #MeToo Movement (Spring 2020, 2019)

The #Me Too Movement has recently captured the public consciousness as years of unpunished incidences of sexual harassment and assault by high profile figures have come to light and triggered a social media tsunami by scores of other victims coming forward with similar experiences. The course will examine this social and political phenomenon and the implications that it might have on our own lives. We will address questions such as: What are sexual harassment and assault? How has our understanding of them changed over time? What are their relation to civil rights? What impediments are there to seeking justice? What is the role of law in this pursuit? The course explores this issue through focusing on its philosophical dimensions, which also introduces students to what philosophy is and to its central relevance to such problems. We will address philosophical topics such as existentialism, phenomenology, concept formation, human oppression, freedom, human nature, and ethics, among others. Throughout, we will explore the role and limits of law in seeking justice for these violations.

Student reviews:

  • It was most helpful that Dr. Nenadic had real conversations with us instead of throwing information at us. It felt like a discussion most of the time.
  • Dr. Nenadic has a very extensive background in this topic so it was great to learn from someone with so much experience.
  • The weekly responses we turned in seemed like they were going to be a hassle when I first saw them in our syllabus but they were really fun to write! The topics are interesting and engaging so most of the time I was sad I had to limit how much I wrote! The responses helped prepare you for the longer written assignments and definitely helped you be engaged in the discussion in class.


Selected Publications:

"Charting an Invisible Domain: Travel and the Genesis of the Concept of Sexual Atrocities as Genocide" in Tourism and Culture in Philosophical Perspective, eds. Marie-Élise Zovko and John Dillon (Springer, 2023)

"Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism, and Continental Philosophy: Comments on Toward a Feminist Theory of the State -- Twenty-Five Years Later," Symposium on Catharine A. MacKinnon's Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, Feminist Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 3 (2017), 2, Article 2 (

"Heidegger and the Ubiquity and Invisibility of Pornography in the Internet Age," Final Proceedings of the 2015 Meeting of the Heidegger Circle, March 2016, 191-214

"Heidegger, Feminism, and Pornography" in The Philosophy of Pornography: Contemporary Perspectives, eds. Lindsay Coleman and Jacob Held (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 105-125

Review of Scott M. Campbell, The Early Heidegger's Philosophy of Life: Facticity, Being, and Language, Fordham University Press, 2012, Gatherings: The Heidegger Circle Annual 4 (2014): 96-105. (

Review of Hans Maes and Jerrold Levinson (eds.), Art and Pornography: Philosophical Essays, Oxford University Press, 2012, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2014.01.18. (

"Heidegger, Arendt, and Eichmann in Jerusalem," Journal of Comparative and Continental Philosophy 5, no. 1 (2013)

"Genocide and Sexual Atrocities: Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem and Karadzic in New York," Philosophical Topics 39, no. 2 (2011): 117-144 (actually published 2013)

"Sexual Abuse, Modern Freedom, and Heidegger's Philosophy," Social Philosophy Today 27 (2011): 83-98

"Philosophy, International Law, and Genocide: The New York Case Against Karadzic," Brief: The Official Journal of the Law Society of Western Australia 38, no. 2 (2011): 20-23

"Pornography, Genocide, and the Law" (with Asja Armanda), in Big Porn Inc: Naming the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry, eds. Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray (Melbourne: Spinifex Press, 2011), 229-238

"Feminist Philosophical Intervention in Genocide," in Metacide in the Pursuit of Excellence, ed. James R. Watson (New York/Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010), 135-162