Dr. Carmen Lea Dege

Areas of specialization:

(Post-)Metaphysical Thinking, Identity Politics, Social Criticism and Resistance.

Areas of competence:

Modern and Contemporary Political and Social Thought, Critical Theory, Democratic Theory, Political Theology, Existentialism.

Personal Website

Dr. Carmen Lea Dege received her PhD in Political Theory from Yale University in 2019 and works broadly on the relation between myth and critique. She is particularly interested in the experiential conditions of social criticism and how they correspond to, and differ from, the material (Marxist) and historical (Hegelian “immanent”) ideas of critique.

Her dissertation, “The Ethos of Non-Indifference: Max Weber’s Challenge and Karl Jaspers’s Response,” analyzes the timely contribution of the existentialist philosopher and psychologist Karl Jaspers to contemporary crises in democratic societies. She situates Jaspers in the intellectual history from Max Weber to Jürgen Habermas, the socio-political developments from the First World War to the Cold War, and identifies his communicative ethics with an existentialism of ambiguity that seeks to transform cultures of certainty.

Dr. Dege was awarded a Polonsky Fellowship to pursue a postdoctoral project entitled “The Metaphysics of Post-Metaphysical Politics: Truth, Meaning, and Myth in Modern Democracy.” It investigates myth both as ideology in narrative form and as an aesthetic defense of reason and social critique. She particularly considers Hans Blumenberg, Walter Benjamin, Karl Jaspers, and Paul Ricoeur, who turned to myth as an alternative language of truth when the era of metaphysics seemed to have ended. The project asks how this understanding of myth can be reflected in political institutions and practices.

Before graduating from Yale University and becoming a Polonsky Fellow, Dr. Dege received a Master’s degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a Diploma degree in Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin.

Recent Publications:

  • “Bound by Disenchantment, Review of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, by Martin Hägglund,” New Rambler Review, September 18, 2019.
  • “Diversity in Unity in Disenchanted Times: Max Weber’s Challenge and Karl Jaspers’s Response,” Philosophy & Social Criticism, 46(6), 2020, 703-733.
  • “Foucault and Humanism: Meditations on an Ethos of Limit,” Journal of Political Thought, 1(1), 2015, 18-36.