Donna V. Jones

Associate Professor

Professor Jones serves as Core Faculty for the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory and the Science, Technology and Society Center. She is on the Advisory Board for the Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major, and is also affiliated with Gender and Women's Studies.

Current Research: 

Professor Jones is currently working on two projects,  The Ambiguous Promise of European Decline: Race and Historical Pessimism in the Era of the Great War (62,000 words) and The Tribunal of Life: Reflections on Vitalism, Race and Biopolitics (20,000 words).


Selected Publications

The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism and Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2010)

"African Nationalisms", in The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Literaure and Politics, ed. Christos Hadjiyiannis and Rachel Potter (Cambridge University Press, 2022), pp. 195-211.

"Inheritance and Finitude: Toward a Literary Phenomenology of Time." ELH, vol. 85 no. 2, 2018, pp. 289-303.

"Invidious Life" in Against Life, ed. Stephanie Youngblood and Alastair Hunt (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2016)

"Mysticism and War: Reflections on Bergson and His Reception During World War One", Annales bergsoniennes, tome VII, Presses Universitaires de France (22 octobre 2014). Revised version in the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, ed. Mark Westmoreland (2016)

Review of Ghosts Stories for Darwin: The Science of Variation and the Politics of Diversity by Banu Subramaniam, Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2015

"Thoughts on Modernism and 'Feminist Aesthetics of Potentiality' in Ziarek’s Feminist Aesthetics and the Politics of Modernism", differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Vol. 25, No.2, 2014

"The New Vitalism: Towards a Cultural and Philosophical Study of Biotechnology", Journal on African Philosophy, No. 11 (2015)
Review of Souleymane Bachir Diagne African Art as Philosophy: Senghor, Bergson and The Idea of Negritude, Journal of Anthropological Research, no. 69, vol. 1 (2013): 132-134

"The Career of Living Things is Continuous: Reflections on Bergson, Iqbal and Scalia", Qui Parle, Vol. 20, No. 2, Summer 2012

"The End of Europe: Pessimistic Historiography in the Interwar Years and the Paradox of Universalism", Clio, A Journal of Literature , History and the History of Philosophy, Vol.39, No. 2, Spring 2010

"The Eleatic Bergson", Diacritics, Vol. 37, No. 1, Fall 2008

"The Prison House of Modernism: Colonial Spaces and the Construction of the Primitive at the 1931, Paris Colonial Exposition", Modernism/Modernity, Vol. 14, No. 1, January 2007

Invited Talks

"The Poetics of Pessimism", Department of Comparative Literature, Cornell University, February 28, 2018
"Race, Time, and Difference", Department of Comparative Literature, SUNY Buffalo, March 2, 2017

"On Immortality", The English Institute, Conference on Time, University of Chicago, September 17, 2016

"The Hungry and the Non-Aligned: Glauber Rocha and the Cinematic Narrative of Futurity", invited participant for  "The Arts of Bandung Humanism", University of California, Los Angeles, April 2015

Invited Participant for the panel "A Man of the People: Achebe and the Crusade for Social Justice", Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, Brown University, May 2-3, 2014

Invited Participant for the panel "Race, Nation and Capital", Crisis in the Cultures of Capitalism, UC Santa Cruz, April 19, 2014

Invited Participant for the conference on "Bandung Internationalisms", Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University, April 14-15, 2014

Keynote Speaker, Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference, April 11, 2014

Respondent to the panel "Corps, représentations, circulations dans la France contemporaine" at the conference "Blacks of France: New Dimensions in History and Historiography of an African Diaspora", UC Berkeley, March 21, 2014

Graduate Student Lecture, Department of English, Brown University, March 2014

"Science, Technology, and the Human Condition", Humanities Center, Grinnell College, February 2014

"Senghor and Bergson", After-Life of Phenomenology Workshop, Northwestern University, December 2013

"The Ambiguous Promise of European Decline: Crisis, Aesthetic Possibilities and the Re-Alignment of Power in the Wake of the Great War" for the Symposium on "Plotting Internationalism", Duke University, November 15, 2013

"Feminist Aesthetics and the Politics of Modernism", Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, University of Oregon, October 24th, 2013

"A New Story Had to be Written: A Roundtable Discussion of the Life and Work of Chinua Achebe", Museum of the African Diaspora, October 6th, 2013

"Cursed Immortality: Temporality and Crisis in Contemporary Speculative Fiction" Science, Technology and Society Center, UC Berkeley, May 2013

“Dangerous Proximity in the Great War: The Colonized as Witness to the ‘End of Europe’”, ACLA Conference, University of Toronto, April 2013            

"What Should Twenty First Century Studies Do?" Center for Twenty First Century Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, March 2013   

"The African Episteme", Program Point Sud, CODESRIA, Dakar, Senegal, January 27-31, 2013

Respondent to Achille Mbembe, "Difference and Repetition in the Current Political Moment", UC Berkeley, December 7, 2012

Respondent to Joseph Slaughter "Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form and International Law", UC Berkeley, October 12, 2012

"What's New about the New Materialisms?", Science, Technology and Society Center, UC Berkeley, May 5, 2012

"Biopolitics:Life in Past and Present", Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison, December 2, 2011

Conversation with Clayton Eshelman, Lunch Poem Series, University of California, Berkeley, November 2, 2011

"Against Life", Seminar Discussion, American Comparative Literature Association, Vancouver, March 31, 2011

Plenary Address, "Theories of Life in the 20th and 21st Centuries", Department of English, Rutgers University, February, 26, 2011

"The Message of Blood: Thoughts to Mull Over", Program in African-American Studies, UC Irvine, February 16, 2011

"What is Left to Live For? Biopolitics and the Dystopian Vision of Children of Men", Conference "What is Left of Life", University of California, Berkeley, February, 2007

Invited Roundtable Participant. "Senghor, The Ancestor: Celebrating the Life and Work of Leopold Sedar Senghor (1906-2001)", Harvard University, October , 2006 

"The Rise of the Colored Masses": The Place and Function of the Non-Western World in Pessimistic Narratives of History", Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, October, 2006 

"Mimesis, Monumentality and the Modern at the 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition", Rights and Technology Lecture Series, Brown University, February 2006

"Race and the Temporality of Modernism", MELUS Conference. Padua, Italy, July 2002

"Temporality and Globalization", Comparative Literature and Globalization Conference, Princeton University, March 2001


Wheeler Hall, Room 410

Office Hours

By appointment

Classes Taught