SPEP mourns the sudden passing of Pleshette DeArmitt, Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis and Chair of the SPEP Committee on the Status of Women.
Pleshette was a beloved teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. Pleshette will be remembered as a warm, kind, gentle, and lively presence at our conferences, and we will miss her easy laughter, her philosophical insight, and her compassionate, generous, and welcoming spirit.
A leading scholar in the philosophical work of Julia Kristeva, Pleshette joined the Memphis Philosophy department in 2006, after holding visiting appointments at Grinnell College and Villanova University. She received her MA and PhD from DePaul University and her BA from Duquesne University. She had served as Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Memphis since 2013.
Among her many honors and leadership positions, Pleshette was a 2010 recipient of the American Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, awarded by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She also served as the President of Société Américaine de Philosophie de Langue Française (SAPLF) and on the Committee on the Status of Women for SPEP.
Pleshette’s research and teaching interests included contemporary continental philosophy, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, and social and political thought. She regularly taught undergraduate courses in feminist theory and 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy. She taught graduate courses on Rousseau’s moral psychology, Freud’s metapsychology, Kristeva’s philosophy of bios, and themes in contemporary continental philosophy.
Pleshette published scholarly articles on Derrida, Kofman, and Kristeva in journals such as Mosaic, Parallax, Philosophy Today, Research in Phenomenology, and The Southern Journal of Philosophy. She was the author of The Right to Narcissism: A Case for an Im-possible Self-Love (Fordham University Press, 2013) and the co-editor of Sarah Kofman’s Corpus (SUNY Press, 2008).
She is survived by her husband, Kas Saghafi, also Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis, and her beloved daughter Seraphine.
The family requests memorials be sent to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38119, “Behind the Stone Wall.”