Maudemarie Clark Joins UCR’s Philosophy Department

By Ailsa Zheng, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing
March 10, 2009

Professor Maudemarie Clark comes to UCR from Colgate University, where she served as George Carleton Jr. Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy.  She received her B.A. from Loyola University in Chicago and her MA and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Clark specializes in 19th Century German Philosophy, under which her main focus is on the works of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Before Professor Clark was a faculty member at Colgate, she had taught at Columbia University for ten years. She was awarded a NEH Fellowship in 1992-93, and was a Harvard University Visiting Fellow that same year.  She has served on the executive committee of the North American Nietzsche Society (1990-1995), is currently on the editorial board of both the Journal of Nietzsche Studies and International Nietzsche Studies. She also represents the interests of 19th Century Philosophy on the Advisory Committee to the American Philosophical Association Program Committee.

When I met Professor Clark in her office, she explained to me that her choice to work at UCR was influenced by the prospect of teaching under UCR's graduate program.

"When I got the offer from UCR," she said, "I thought about it long and hard because Colgate is a wonderful school and I felt very at home there. But here I have the chance of teaching graduate students and more directly affecting the next generation of philosophers and Nietzsche scholars, which is what I'm particularly interested in."  She is also excited about teaching a much more diverse group of undergraduates than she found at Colgate.

Professor Clark's book, Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy, was hailed by Review of Metaphysics as "an important contribution to Anglo-American Nietzsche scholarship. It represents the most ambitious (and most successful) attempt to date to subject Nietzsche's philosophy to the rigorous analysis usually reserved for mainstream philosophers." Clark is currently in contract for another book, Nietzsche's Magnificent Tension of the Spirit: An Introduction to Beyond Good and Evil.

I asked Professor Clark what drew her to Nietzsche's works, and she explained that she first heard of Nietzsche when she was a twenty-one year old student attending a Catholic University.

"I discovered Nietzsche at a point where I had lost my faith but I needed something. My faith had been very important to me, and I needed something that had the same kind of depth and ability to give me a picture of life and a direction in life that religion had.  So in a way it was a substitute for religion, but it has become much more than that for me, because it has opened up so many intellectual perspectives and has taken me in all sorts of directions, including back to recognizing the importance of religion. I think I have a great respect for religion, even though I'm no longer a believer of any kind."

In addition to Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy, Clark has also written the introduction and co-translation of Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality and was co-editor of Nietzsche's Daybreak. Brian Leiter, the editor of the Philosophical Gourmet Report, refers to Professor Clark as "the leading senior scholar in the field of Nietzsche studies".

Professor Clark's addition to UCR's faculty makes UCR one of the top two schools in the U.S. for students interested in continental philosophy. There were already five distinguished, tenured faculty working in Kant and post-Kant Continental Philosophy at UCR.  "What UCR didn't have anymore, due to the retirement of distinguished Nietzsche scholar, Bernd Magnus, was someone who worked on Nietzsche," she said.

Now we do.

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