Michelle V. Switzer

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy

562.907.4200, ext. 4436

Academic History

B.A., Oberlin College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Toronto

Academic  Focus

Social Philosophy
Value Theory
Theory of Ideology
Feminist Philosophy
Eco- and Environmental Philosophy
Philosophy of Race
Anti-Colonial philosophy


Michelle Switzer is a value theorist and social philosopher studying ideology as the complex ways we are pressured to feel and behave against our own interests, most especially at the expense of oppressed others and of nature.

Switzer was trained as an Anglo-analytic political philosopher. Yet “placed” at a Hispanic serving-institution, she has developed competence in philosophy of race and anti-colonial philosophy, growing the fruits of interdisciplinary teaching to address the interests of the diverse student population. This process was helped by an Irvine grant to diversify the curriculum in 2006, and in 2013 Switzer presented at the first-ever American Philosophical Association Conference on Diversity in Philosophy. Her current research brings anti-hierarchical feminist and anti-colonial philosophies to bear on the importance of a connection to living place in eco-philosophy. Switzer’s pedagogy aspires to enact a genuinely democratic classroom via egalitarian, respectful methods of listening. She is fluent in French.

Switzer has taught at Whittier College since 1998, teaches the required capstone course for the Gender Studies minor, has twice served as coordinator of the program, and is currently the coordinator of Environmental Studies.