Rick Elmore


I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Appalachian State University. I research and teach in 20th century French philosophy, critical theory, ethics, social political philosophy, environmental philosophy, new realisms, and Cormac McCarthy studies. I am the co-editor of The Biopolitics of Punishment: Derrida and Foucault (Northwestern University Press, forthcoming). My articles and essays have appeared in Politics & Policy, Symplokē, Symposium, Mississippi Quarterly, The Cormac McCarthy Journal, The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies (Edinburgh), and The Aesthetic Ground of Critical Theory (Rowman and Littlefield) among others
One of the guiding questions of my work is how political, ethical, and environmental systems and institutions situate themselves in relation to issues of inclusion, exclusion, power, force, law, policing, and normativity. I've always been interested in how systems establish and enforce themselves. These are the kinds of questions that got me interested in studying philosophy. In recent years, I have become increasingly interested in the resurgence of realism and materialism in continental philosophy, and the way in which our commitments concerning "the real" interact and reshape our understanding of ethics and politics.

I am currently completing work on a book project (co-authored with Peter Gratton) entitled The New Derrida. This work explores the continued relevance and evolving character of Jacques Derrida’s thought in light of the significant philosophical developments since his death of critical animal studies, speculative realism, continental philosophy of religion, and radical politics and Marxism. 

I am originally from North Carolina and did my undergraduate work here at ASU. After transferring to ASU from a community college, I explored several majors, including music, political science, and history before settling on philosophy. I did my graduate work at DePaul University in Chicago where I completed my PhD in 2012. In addition to my interests in philosophy, I'm also an avid gamer and trail runner. 


Ph.D. Philosophy, DePaul University (2012).

M.A. Philosophy, DePaul University (2006).

B.A. Philosophy and Religion, Appalachian State University (2003). 

Courses Taught

PHL 1503: Everyday Philosophy: Local to Global

PHL 2000: Philosophy, Society, and Ethics

PHL 2010: Animal Ethics and Philosophy

PHL 2015: Environmental Ethics

PHL 3015: Medical Ethics

PHL 3020: Metaphysics

PHL 3040: Social and Political Philosophy

PHL 3530: Existentialism and Literature

PHL 3530: Philosophy and Mass Incarceration

PHL 3400: Contemporary Continental Philosophy

PHL 4549: Seminar: Critical Prison Studies

PHL 4549: Seminar: Political Economy



  • The New Derrida, Co-authored with Peter Gratton, London: Bloomsbury (Under Contract).

Edited Volumes

  • The Biopolitics of Punishment: Derrida and Foucault, Co-edited with Ege Selin Islekel, Northwestern University Press (Forthcoming).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles 

  • “Life, Unity, and Suffering: The Moral of Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree.” Co-authored Jonathan Elmore. The Cormac McCarthy Journal (Forthcoming).
  • “'I made a mistake. He wadn’t for sale': Resistance to Evil and the Positive Ethics of McCarthy’s The Orchard Keeper.” Co-authored Jonathan Elmore. Mississippi Quarterly 72, No. 2 (2019): 253-272.
  • “'He wondered why a road should come to such a place': Community and Posthumanism in Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark” Co-authored Jonathan Elmore. The Cormac McCarthy Journal 17: 2 (2019): 116-133.
  • “You reckon there are just some places the good lord didn’t intend folks to live in?': The Absence of Community in McCarthy’s Child of God” Co-authored Jon Elmore. Cormac McCarthy Journal 17: 2 (2019): 134-147.
  • "'You can stay here with your papa and die or you can go with me': The Ethical Imperative of The Road," Co-authored with Jonathan Elmore, The Cormac McCarthy Journal (Fall 2018), pp. 133-48.
  • "Identity, Exchange, and Violence: The Importance of Marxism for Reconciling Adorno's Metaphysics and Politics" Symposium (Spring 2018), pp. 210-27.
  • “The Hybrid Turn: What the Figure of the Vampire Hunter Tells Us about the Humanities in the 21st Century,” Co-authored with Jonathan Elmore, Readings: A Journal for Scholars and Readers, (January 25, 2017).
  • "Human Become Coin: Neoliberalism, Anthropology, and Human Possibilities in No Country for Old Men," Co-authored with Jonathan Elmore. The Cormac McCarthy Journal, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2016), pp. 168-85.
  • “Revisiting Violence and Life in the Early Work of Jacques Derrida.” Symploke 20, no. 1-2 (2012): 35-52. 
  • “Simulation and Symbolic Exchange: Jean Baudrillard’s Augmentation of Marx’s Theory of Value.” Co-authored with Andrew Koch. Politics & Policy 34, no. 3 (2006): 556-75.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  • “Grounds for Debate: Derrida and Foucault,” Co-authored Ege Selin Islekel. The Biopolitics of Punishment: Derrida and Foucault. Edited by Rick Elmore and Ege Selin Islekel. Chicago: Northwestern University Press (Forthcoming).
  • “Posthuman and Postanimal Futures or the Possibilities of a Deconstructive Biopolitics,” The Biopolitics of Punishment: Derrida and Foucault. Edited by Rick Elmore and Ege Selin Islekel. Chicago: Northwestern University Press (Forthcoming).
  • "The Danger of Ecological and Economic Interdependence in the Films of Cormac McCarthy,” Co-authored Jonathan Elmore, The Horror of Relations. Edited by Jonathan Beever. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020, 121-137. 
  • “Impossible Friends: Arendt and Critical Theory.” The Bloombury Companion to Hannah Arendt. Bloomsbury (2020).
  • "The Secret Fate of All Pessimism?: Time, Determinism, and Eternal Recurrence in True Detective Season One" in True Detective: Critical Essays on the HBO Series. Edited by Michael Samuel and Scott Stoddart. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (2018), pp. 85-101.
  • "Biopolitics," Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies. Edited by Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach, and Ron Broglio. Edinburgh University Press (2018), pp. 80-93.
  • "Loving Rust's Pessimism: Rationalism and Emotion in True Detective Season One", Philosophy and True Detective. Edited by Tom Sparrow. New York: Routledge (2017, 31-41).
  • "Pessimism, or the Importance of Indifference, Time, and Violence in Realist Ontologies" in Marie Eve Morin, ed., Continental Realism and its Discontents, Edinburgh UP (2017), pp. 100-16.
  • “Ecological Experience: Aesthetics, Life, and the Shudder in Adorno’s Critical Theory” in The Aesthetic Ground of Critical Theory, edited by Nathan Ross, Rowman and Littlefield (2015), pp. 145-57.
  • “The bindings are there as a safeguard: Sovereignty and Political Decisions in BioShock Infinite," in BioShock and Philosophy. Edited by Luke Cuddy. Routledge (2015), pp. 97-106.

Dictionary Entries, Commentaries, Essays

  • “McCarthy as Philosopher” Co-authored Jonathan Elmore. Orbit: A Journal of American Literature, 9, No. 1 (2021): 3–11.
  • “Troubling Lines: The Process of Addressing in Derrida’s The Post Card.” Going Postcard. Brooklyn: Punctum Books. (2017, 59-63).
  • “Katerina Kolozova’s Towards a Radical Metaphysics of Socialism: Introduction” Syndicate Philsoophy, Decmeber 16, 2016. “https://syndicate.network/symposia/philosophy/toward-a-radical-metaphysics-of-socialism/
  • “Object Oriented Ontology,” “Speculative Realism,” “OOO Critiques of Meillassoux,” and “Graham Harman,” Meillassoux Dictionary. Edited by Peter Gratton and Paul Ennis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2014). 
  • “Différance,” “Jacques Derrida,” “Deconstruction,”and “Post-Structuralism,” Jean-Luc Nancy Dictionary. Edited by Marie-Eve Morin and Peter Gratton. Edinburgh University Press (2015).

Book Reviews

  • David Wood, Deep Time, Dark Times: On Being Geologically Human,” in Environmental Values, 28, no. 6 (2019): 769-771.
  • Sina Kramer’s Excluded Within, in PhiloSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 9, no. 2 (Spring 2019): 151-156.
  • “Jacques Derrida’s Theory and Practice,” Derrida Today 12, no. 2 (2020): 254-261.
  • Matthias Fritsch, Philippe Lynes and David Wood (eds), Eco-Deconstruction: Derrida and Environmental Philosophy, in Environmental Values, 28: 3 (2019): 391-393.
  • Peter Gordon’s Adorno and ExistenceAdorno Studies, 1: 2 (July 2018): 1-6.
  • "A Compelling Ontology of Wildness for Conservation Ecology." A review of Jamie Lorimer, Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature." Postmodern Culture 26: 2, 2016.
  • Speculative Realism: Problems and Prospects. By Peter Gratton. Symposiumhttp://www.c-scp.org/en/2015/06/12/peter-gratton-speculative-realism.html, June 12, 2015.
  • Bestial Traces: Race, Sexuality, Animality. By Christopher Peterson. Oxford Literary Review 37: 1 (July 2015): 153-157.
  • Derrida and The Inheritance of Democracy. By Samir Haddad.  International Philosophical Quarterly 55: 1 (March 2015): 130-132.
  • Derrida and Our Animal Others: Derrida’s Final Seminar, ‘The Beast and The Sovereign’. By David Ferrell Krell. Derrida Today 7: 2 (November 2014): 225-230.


Online Academic Writings

Title: Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department: Philosophy and Religion

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-2422

Office address
I. G. Greer Hall 117-A