Wesleyan portrait of Ryan  Fics

Ryan Fics

Visiting Assistant Professor of Letters


BA University of Manitoba
MA University of Manitoba
PHD Emory University

Ryan Fics

Ryan Fics is a Visiting Assistsnt Professor of Letters in the College of Letters. His areas of specialization are deconstruction, nineteenth century American Literature, political philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Animal Studies. He has a BA (Honors) and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Emory University. He earned a certificate in psychoanalysis from the Psychoanalytic Institute at Emory University and was awarded an Interdisciplinary Studies Fellowship through the On Recent Discoveries by Emory Program. Fics’s MA focused on animal ethics. Rather than relying on traditional utilitarian, animal rights, and theological models of thinking about the ethical treatment and legal status of non-human animals, Fics explored how Derrida’s deconstruction of the human/animal divide offers a notion of responsibility that effectively combats the institutionalization of animal cruelty. Bringing together the reading practices of Hortense Spillers and Derrida, Fics’s dissertation expands on the work he began in his MA by analyzing the allure and violent consequences of the radical notions of independence and individualism proposed by the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the critical responses it generated in the philosophical and literary writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville. Fics argued that Emerson and Melville set out to heal a republic deeply divided by slavery and newly emerging theories about racial identity. Although Emerson and Melville attempted to articulate revolutionary notions of human identity grounded in a form of democracy not modeled on the structure and logic of private property, Fics demonstrates that both authors (each in their own way) reproduce the very alienation that their ambitious writings set out to critique and overcome. He has published in Mosaic: an interdisciplinary critical journal.

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