Michael Barber

Prof. Michael Barber

Professor of Philosophy, St. Louis University

Reverend Michael Barber, S.J., Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, has been a member of the Society of Jesus for fifty-five years. He completed a B.A. and M.A. Saint Louis University, attended the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago from 1976-1979, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1979. He then pursued his doctorate in philosophy at Yale University from 1979-1985, and, after graduating, was hired in the Philosophy Department at Saint Louis University, where he has served for thirty-seven years. From 2009-2011, he was the Dean of the College of Philosophy and Letters and from 2010-2015, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He held the Hotfelder Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Saint Louis University from 2004-2010 and the LeRoux Visiting Chair in the Humanities at Seattle University in 2017. His academic expertise has to do with the phenomenology of the social world, in particular the work of Alfred Schutz, a twentieth century philosopher who escaped Austria under Hitler’s Anschluss and took up residence in New York, teaching for nineteen years at the New School for Social Research. Barber has also written extensively on the work of Edmund Husserl, Emmanuel Levinas, Max Scheler, Karl-Otto Apel, Jürgen Habermas, and Enrique Dussel. He has published seven solo-authored books, most recently Religion and Humor as Emancipating Provinces of Meaning (Springer, 2017), and his book The Participating Citizen: A Biography of Alfred Schutz (SUNY, 2004) won the Ballard Prize for the best book in phenomenology in 2007. He has edited nineteen books and published over one hundred articles in volumes from Springer, Routledge, and Oxford University Press and in journals such as Husserl Studies and Human Studies. He has held leadership roles in several international phenomenological organizations. At present he is working on a project exploring the relationship between imposed relevances (interests) and what Schutz calls "finite provinces of meaning," in particular the provinces of religious experience, music, play, and humor (especially African-American folklore). He regularly teaches courses in ethics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy and race (including philosophical texts classified by authors as part of a generalized critical race theory).  He celebrates Mass weekly in Spanish for the Hispanic community of Holy Rosary Church in Fairmont City, Illinois, and belongs to the Sacred Heart Jesuit Community in St. Louis. He can be contacted at michael.barber@slu.edu. 


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