Christian Yates image


Instructor of Philosophy
Contact Info

Office: Cleveland Hall 118 


M.A. Philosophy, University of Memphis

Ph.D. Philosophy, Boston College

Dr. Yates specializes in 19th-20th century European Philosophy, and Aesthetics. His scholarly work concentrates primarily on the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions, the period of German Idealism, and intersections of these with currents in the visual and literary arts. He is the author of The Poetic Imagination in Heidegger and Schelling (Bloomsbury, 2013) as well as scholarly articles on topics such as ontology, ethics, poetics, existentialism, and artists/writers such as Caspar David Friedrich, Terrence Malick, Wim Wenders, Walker Percy, Cormac McCarthy, and Knut Hamsun. He is currently writing a book on the function of imagination and longing in the practice of reason. At JMU he teaches sections of Ethical Reasoning and Introduction to Philosophy. 

Prior to joining the JMU faculty, Dr. Yates was Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts ( He has also taught at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Grove City College, and Boston College. His background in undergraduate and graduate teaching includes courses in the History of Philosophy, Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, 20th Century Continental & Analytic Philosophy, Critical Theory, Art Theory, Aesthetics, and seminar courses on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, German Idealism, Phenomenology, Post-Structuralism, Feminism, and Visual Culture Studies. In 2010 he received the Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award at Boston College. In addition to his role at JMU, he is also a Foundation Research Fellow at Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia.

Selected Publications:

“The Loss of Longing in an Age of Curated Reality,” The Hedgehog Review (July 2019): 21:2.

“The Poetics of Lack and the Problem of Ground in Knut Hamsun’s Hunger,” in Somatic Desire: Recovering Corporeality in Contemporary Thought, eds. Sarah Horton, Stephen Mendelsohn, and Christine Rojcewicz, Lexington Books, 2019.

“Percy’s Poetics of Dwelling: The Dialogical Self and the Ethics of Reentry in The Last Gentleman and Lost in the Cosmos,” in Walker Percy: Philosopher, ed. Leslie Marsh, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018.

“Beyond Anthropologism: Derrida’s Heidegger and the Movement of Language,” in Hermeneutics-Ethics-Education, ed. Andrzej Wiercinski, Münster: LIT Verlag, 2015.

“Seams in the Desert: Cormac McCarthy’s Literary Ontology of Place,” Comparative and Continental Philosophy, Vol. 6, No. 2, November 2014.

“Poetizing and the Question of Measure,” Studia Philosophiae Christianae Vol. 49, No. 4, 2013.

“Between Mourning and Magnetism: Derrida and Waldenfels on Hospitality,” in Phenomenologies of the Stranger, eds. Richard Kearney and Kascha Semonovitch, Fordham, 2011.

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