Professor Listing


Jennifer Welchman, PhD, Johns Hopkins University




About Me

After completing a PhD at the Johns Hopkins University, I taught at Colgate University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, before coming to the University of Alberta in 1998.

Recent Grants/Awards:

  • 2015 Kule Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Alberta, Dialogue Grant
  • 2015 Research Fellowship, Centre de recherche en éthique, Montreal
  • 2010/14 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Standard Research Grant,
  • 2008/9 McCalla Research Professorship, University of Alberta

Recent Administrative Service at the University of Alberta:

  • 2019 (July to December) Acting Associate Chair, Graduate Studies, Department of Philosophy
  • 2015-16 Acting-Director, Science, Technology, & Society Program, University of Alberta & Acting-Director (Arts), Environmental Studies BA Program
  • 2013-2014 Chair, Governing Committee, Environmental Studies BA Program
  • 2012-2013 Interim Chair, Department of Philosophy
  • 2008-2012 Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies) and Honors Program Coordinator, Department of Philosophy


My main areas of research and teaching expertise are in Ethics (Normative and Applied) and the History of Moral Philosophy (broadly construed.) My chief philosophical indulgence is Aesthetics (especially Film Aesthetics.) You can find links to some of my publications on my page (link to the right.)

History of Moral Philosophy

My historical work has mainly focused on naturalist theories/theorists. After completing a dissertation on John Dewey's ethics, I have done research and published on the theories of classic American Pragmatists (Dewey and William James), contemporaries such as G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, as well as on earlier figures such as John Locke, Bernard Mandeville, and David Hume. I have also edited a collection on Virtue Ethics. Forthcoming work includes:

  • Shaftesbury and British Moral Thought. in  The Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences, edited by Dana Jalobeanu, & Charles T. Wolfe. Springer International Publishing (2020)

Environmental Philosophy:

I am a founding director of the Canadian Society for Environmental Philosophy/Société canadienne de philosophie environnementale (CSEP/SCEP) (link to the right.) I am currently working on a book on The Ethics of Environmental Stewardship, for which I received research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Funding Council (SSHRC.)

Recent and forthcoming work in environmental philosophy includes:

  • "Does Justice Require the Deextinction of the Heath Hen?" in  Animals in Our Midst: the challenges of co-existing with animals in the Anthropocene, edited by Jozef Keulartz, & Bernice Bovenkerk.  Springer International Publishing (forthcoming)
  • "Return of the Living Dead: Ethics and the Resurrection of Zombie Species." (conference talk) American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Annual Meeting, 2019
  • "Wildlife Conservation in the Anthropocene: The Challenge of Hybridization," in Canadian Environmental Philosophy, edited by Tyler DesRoches, Frank Jankunis, & Byron Williston. Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, (pp. 199-213)
  • "Aesthetics of Nature, Constitutive Goods, and Environmental Conservation: A Defense of Moderate Formalist Aesthetics." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 2018 Special Issue: The Good, the Beautiful, the Green: Environmentalism and Aesthetics, Guest Editors: Sandra Shapshay and Levi Tenen, 419-28, doi:10.1111/jaac.12599.


This is what I will be teaching in Fall 2019:

PHIL 280 Philosophy of Art  (MWF:  13.00-13:50) 

  • In 1994, some Bostonians held an impromptu exhibition of engagingly bad art collected from local streets and thrift shops. This was the basis for the Museum of Bad Art [MOBA], dedicated to collecting and exhibiting “Art too Bad to be Ignored.” Like any museum, MOBA has rigorous standards. MOBA does not accept paint-by-number pictures, commercial art produced for tourists, or anything it considers deliberately created “kitsch.” In so doing, MOBA’s activities invite a host of questions: what makes bad art bad? Is bad art actually art at all? What’s wrong with “kitsch”? And what entitles one to judge a work of art ‘bad’?  Please note:  Though we will discuss some exemplary art works, for our purposes, bad and borderline art are just as interesting and important. So you should expect to be seeing, reading, and hearing examples of really poor and sometimes questionable ‘art.

Past UndergraduateTeaching:

I regularly teach courses in Ethics, Environmental Ethics, the History of Ethics, and Philosophy of Art. I have recently begun to offer a course on Film and Philosophy.

Past Graduate Seminars

Other recent topics have included: 

  •  De-Extinction and Zombie Species 

  • Inter-Generational Ethics 
  • Virtue Ethics and the Environment  
  • Contemporary Consequentialism and its Critics
  • Twentieth Century Ethics
  • Early Modern Ethics