Laura T. Di Summa – (Di Summa-Knoop)

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, William Paterson University of New Jersey



Ph.D. in Philosophy:  CUNY, The Graduate Center, New York. Thesis: The Art of Telling About the Self. Memoirs in Literature and Film. Advisor: Prof. Noël Carroll. Committee: Douglas Lackey, Nickolas Pappas, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Pipolo.

AOSs: Aesthetics (Philosophy of Art, Film & Literature), Ethics, History of Philosophy, Continental Philosophy

AOCs: Applied Ethics, Cognitive Science (Cognitive Psychology), Philosophy of Mind.


MA in Philosophy: Concordia University, Montreal. Thesis: Naturalizing Artifacts. The Case of Art in Naturalized Epistemology. Advisor:  Prof. Murray Clarke.


MA in History of Philosophy: University of Turin, Italy. Thesis: The Perception of Virtual Objects Advisors: Prof. Pietro Kobau and Prof. Maurizio Ferraris.


BA in Philosophy: University of Turin, Italy. Thesis: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. The case of photography Advisor: Prof. Pietro Kobau.


Language skills

English, Italian (fluent), French (proficient), Spanish (intermediate), Ancient Greek and Latin (translation)



  • In contract: A Philosophy of Fashion through Film: On the Body, Style, and Identity. London: Bloomsbury
  • Co-editor with Noël Carroll & Shawn Loht. The Palgrave Handbook for the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Naturalizing Artifacts. The Case of Art in Naturalized Epistemology. VDM Verlag, Berlin.
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles & Book Chapters

  • Invited. “Clouds of Sils Maria: True Selves and Fictional Characters,” in Metacinema: Representations of Filmic Self-Reference. Ed. David LaRocca.  Bloomsbury (book chapter)
  • Invited. “Fashion as Play,” in Philosophy Compass (article).
  • (forthcoming Winter 2019). “Analytic Approaches and Critical Practices: On What We Can Learn,” (Special Issue of Projections)
  • (forthcoming Winter 2019). “Aesthetics and Ethics: On the Power of Aesthetic Features,” Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (JCLA), 42, No. 2.
  • (forthcoming Fall 2019). “The Autobiographical Documentary” (Chapter 27). The Palgrave Handbook for the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures, Carroll, Di Summa-Knoop & Loht eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Black Mirror: The Not So Fearful Consequences of Technology,” in Film and Philosophy, Vol.23.
  • “Naturalized Aesthetics and Criticism: On Value Judgments” Projections, Vol. 12, Issue 2, Winter 2018, 19-27.
  • “Style, Not Costumes: David Bowie and Fashion,” in Metaphysical Stardust: David Bowie and the Problem of Personal Identity Between East and West. Baldini, Goretti, Flannery, He eds. Nanjing School of Arts of Nanjing University: 31-35 Exhibition catalogue.
  • 2017. “Contemporary Lives: On the Nature of Filmic Autobiographies,” Auto/Fiction, 2:1, 54-65.
  • 2017. “Critical Autobiography: A New Subgenre?” Journal of Aesthetics and Culture Vol. 9: 1. Published online 08/10/2017
  • 2016. “Identity and Strategies of Identification: A Moral and Aesthetic Shift in Architecture and Urbanism,” The Journal of Aesthetics and PhenomenologySpecial Issue: Urban Aesthetics Vol. 3 No.2: 111-123.
  • 2016. “Eating Out as Eating in: The Intimate Call of the Contemporary Restaurant Scene,” The Journal of SomaestheticsVol. 2 No.1: 49-58.
  • 2016. “Art Today and Philosophical Aesthetics: A Missing Dialogue,” Culture and Dialogue, Issue 4.2: 246-262.
  •  2015. “The Dialogue of Philosophical Aesthetics: A Response to Naturalist Definitions of Art,” in Naturalizing Aesthetics (Ewa Chudoba & Krystyna Wilkoszewska eds.), 2015. Krakow: Institute of Philosophy of Jagellonian University: 71-86.
  • 2015. “ ‘It is Like it is Always Right Now: Boyhood and the Fiction-Nonfiction Divide’,” Film and Philosophy, Vol. 20, No.1: 48-62.
  • 2014. “Casablanca and Integrity. An Ethical Puzzle,” in Film and Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 1: 115-126
  • 2014. “Philosophical Aesthetics: A Naturalist Perspective,” in The Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, Vol. 1, No. 2, November: 191-207.
  • 2014. “The Decline of Hollywood Narratives. How the Internet is Shaping the Creation and Appreciation of Film,” in International Conference on Philosophy and Film eProceedings (Susana Viegas & Maria Teresa Teixeira eds.), Vol. 1: 160-173.


  • 2015. “American Food 2.0.” Translation of written, displayed text, web, and event content for the US Pavilion, Expo Milan.
  • 2011. With Douglas Lackey. Tommaso Campanella, “Philosophical Poetry”, The Philosophical Forum, Vol. XLIV, No. 4, Winter: 264-268.
  • 2011. Antonio Rocco, “Alcibiades, The Schoolboy”, The Philosophical Forum, Vol. XLIV, No. 4, Winter: 497-506.


  • (forthcoming) Review of Cognitive Theory and Documentary Film, by Catalin Brylla and Mette Kramer. Projections.
  • (forthcoming) Review of Noël Carroll and Film: A Philosophy of Art and Popular Culture, by Mario Slugan. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
  • Review of The Adventures of the Man in Gold: Paths Between Art and Life. A Philosophical Tale, by Richard Shusterman and Yann Toma. Newsletter of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 38, No. 2, Summer 2018.
  • 2016.  Review of The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity, by Sandra M. Gilbert, Gastronomica, Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer: 107-108.


Literary and Art Publications


Cross Magazine (an independent six-monthly magazine issued in English and Italian, distributed in Europe, on contemporary art and literature) Contributor. Selected Articles:

  • “Outdoor Rooms,” co-author: Gianluigi Ricuperati, Creative Director at Domus Academy, Milan.
  • “Non-directional biography of external spaces,” co-author: Mauro Sargiani


Cluster (a quarterly issued in English and Italian, distributed in Europe and U.S on architecture) Contributor. Selected Articles:


L’Indice (A monthly journal on Literature, issued in Italian). Selected Reviews:

  • Sybille Bedford, Jigsaw: An Unsentimental Education
  • Gayatri Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present


Invited Talks and Panels

  • (forthcoming) Film and Philosophy Symposium, Tufts University. Invited Paper: TBA
  • 2019, September. Philosophy of Art: New Directions. Padua University. Invited Paper: “Fashion, Style, and Identity”
  • 2019, April, ASA, American Society for Aesthetics Western Division in Berkeley. Invited Paper: “Rosy Technology: A Lighter Take on Black Mirror
  • 2018, May. Love and Friendship in the Movies, Princeton University. Paper: “That Old Egyptian Custom (Costume?). Fashion and All That Heaven Allows”
  • 2018, March. Naturalized Aesthetics of Film: A Workshop on Murray Smith’s “Film, Art, and The Third Culture,” CUNY, The Graduate Center, New York City. Paper “Naturalized Aesthetics and Criticism: On Value Judgments.”
  • 2017, March. Lecture Series, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Invited Paper: “Cinempathy and Time.”
  • 2017, April. APA Pacific Division Meeting in Seattle. Invited Panel: Author Meets Critics. Discussion of Robert Sinnerbrink Cinematic Ethics with Amy Coplan and Thomas Wartenberg.
  • 2016, March. ASA American Society for Aesthetics Eastern Division in Philadelphia. Invited Panel in collaboration with SCSMI with Paloma Atencia Linares and Dirk Eitzen: “Fiction, Nonfiction, and Film.”

Paper Presentations

  • 2019, July, Film-Philosophy Conference in Brighton. Paper: “Recording the Future of Memories: An Overview”
  • 2019, April, Brtish Society for Aesthetics in Dubrovnik. “’That’s So You!’ On Fashionable and Personal Styles”
  • 2018, October, BSA, British Society for Aesthetics. Analytic Aesthetics and Film Studies. Paper: “Bridging a Divide: Analytic Aesthetics and Criticism.”
  • 2018, July, Film-Philosophy Conference in Gothenburg. Paper: “Beauty and Disability: A Motion Pictures Perspective.”
  • 2018, June. ESA European Society of Aesthetics Meeting in Maribor. Paper: “Fashion as Play.”
  • 2018, April. ASA American Society for Aesthetics Eastern Division in Philadelphia. Paper: “Fashion as Play.”
  • 2017, December. Colloquia in New Media: Interdisciplinary Directions, William Paterson University. Paper: “A Lighter Shade of Black: Philosophy and Black Mirror
  • 2017, July. International Conference on Moving Image and Philosophy in Porto. Paper: “Technology and TV series: A Turn in Science Fiction.”
  • 2017, May. ESA European Society of Aesthetics Meeting in Berlin. Paper: “The Aesthetic of Moral Values.”
  • 2016, July. IGEL International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature in Chicago. Paper: “Critical Autobiography: A New Subgenre?”
  • 2016, January. Film-Philosophy: Prospects, Directions, and New Perspectives. Tel Aviv University. Paper: “Engaging with Fictional Characters: The Case of Birdman and Clouds of Sils Maria.
  • 2015, June. SCSMI The Society for the Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image Conference in London. Paper: “It is Like It is Always Right Now” Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and the Fiction Nonfiction Divide.”
  • 2015, May. Canadian Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting in Ottawa. Paper: “Art Today: A Challenge to Philosophical Aesthetics.”
  • 2014, July. ASA American Society for Aesthetics, Rocky Mountains Division Meeting in Santa Fe. Paper: “Exposing Contemporary Lives. On the Divide Between Literary and Filmic Autobiographies.”
  • 2014, May. Film and Philosophy International Conference in Lisbon. Paper: “The Decline of Hollywood Narratives. How the Internet is Shaping the Creation and Appreciation of Film.”
  • 2014, January. The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture: Mindful Bodies in the Arts of Eating. International Conference, Florida Atlantic University. Paper: “Eating Out as Eating In. The Intimate Call of the Contemporary Restaurant Scene.”
  • 2013, July. International Congress of Aesthetics in Krakow. Paper: “Is a Naturalist Definition of Art a Challenge to Philosophical Aesthetics?”
  • 2013, July. Beyond Film. International Film and Philosophy Conference in Amsterdam. Paper: “The Philosophical and Cognitive Achievement of Cult. The Ethical Puzzle of ”
  • 2013, June. Canadian Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting in Victoria, BC. Paper: “Memoir: A Nonfictional Narration of Identity.”
  • 2012, CUNY Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference “Principles of Uncertainty.” Paper: “A New Dimension of Authenticity. Finding the Self in Autobiographical Narratives.”
  • 2010, CUNY Philosophy Graduate Student Conference. Comments on: Sarah Jansen “Plato and Popular Entertainment.”
  • 2010, AAIS XXX Annual Conference. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Paper: “Federico Fellini: How Many Lies to Life Writing.”



  • 2019, October. ASA, American Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting in Phoenix. Comments to Saul Fischer “Aesthetic Transformative Experience”.
  • 2019, January. APA, American Philosophical Association Meeting in New York. Comments to James Dow “On the Possibility of a Neuroaesthetics of Natural Environments”.
  • 2013, April. ASA American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern Division Meeting in Philadelphia. Comments to Louise Hanson “How to Establish the Relevance of Ethical Value to Artistic Value.”

Courses Taught

Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Literature, Philosophy of Motion Pictures, Philosophy and Biochemistry of Food (with Jill Smith-Carpenter), Art and Public Policy, History of Ancient Philosophy, History of Medieval Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Modern to Postmodern, Ethics, Introduction to Philosophy, Media Ethics, Critical Thinking.

Teaching Interests: Autobiography and the Self, Narrative Theories in Literature and Film, Aesthetic Psychology, Feminist Aesthetics, Contemporary Perspectives on the Artworld, Continental Philosophy. 

Professional Service

2018-present: Co-organizer of the ASA Eastern Meeting in Philadelphia with John Dyck and Michel-Antoine Xignesse.

2017-present: Curriculum Committee, William Paterson University

2014-present: Member of the New York University, Food and the City Working Group

2013-present: Referee. The Philosophical Forum, Film and Philosophy

2010-present: Managing editor. The Philosophical Forum. Blackwell Wiley

2010-2012: Executive Committee, CUNY, The Graduate Center

2010-2011: Graduate Student Council Member. CUNY, The Graduate Center

Download a PDF copy of my CV

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