Philosophy

The study of philosophy emphasizes the development of skills in analytical thinking, problem-solving, ethical and political deliberation and advanced reading and writing. It offers excellent preparation for a range of career options.

Our Philosophy courses draw on the world’s intellectual traditions to ask the larger questions about life and meaning and the pressing ethical and social questions of our time. This is also a great starting point for transfer to any Liberal Arts area and students interested in Law or Business. Philosophy offers students skills in critical and creative thinking that will be valuable to all students.

We offer students exciting and unique opportunities such as the annual honors student-faculty philosophy seminar where students and faculty learn side by side, and our interdisciplinary learning communities.

Our department offers courses in three broad areas, with corresponding pre-majors: Exploring Humanities, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. Whether learning about arts and culture, asking philosophical and ethical questions, or learning about the world’s religious traditions and texts, our courses will offer you an inclusive and global approach to these areas.

We strive to highlight and center the perspectives of cultural and intellectual traditions that have often been underrepresented. We also strive to foster a sense of social justice and global citizenship.

We work closely with concentration programs at Oakton, including Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Peace and Social Justice Studies, Global Studies, Great Books and Environmental Studies.

Our courses rely on discussion and seminar-based learning formats, where students’ ideas and voices are central. We also involve students in events outside the classroom, including our social justice and arts symposium, Creating Justice, other conferences and talks at Oakton, as well as site visits and cultural experiences. We offer students exciting and unique opportunities such as the annual honors student-faculty philosophy seminar where students and faculty learn side by side, and our interdisciplinary learning communities.

 

Pre-Major

The Philosophy Pre-major offers a suitable pathway to four-year programs in Philosophy as well as a range of other humanities and social science programs. An undergraduate degree in philosophy is a good basis for many future graduate programs, as well as programs in law.

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Humanities and Philosophy Department Areas

Courses in these three major areas can fulfill various graduation requirements, including Humanities, Fine Arts, Global Studies and U.S. Diversity. Pursuing a pre-major in any of these areas is a suitable starting point for students interested in pursuing undergraduate degrees in any liberal arts area, as well as fields such as communications, law or business.

Exploring Humanities

This area includes topics like film, music, visual art, theater and literature. Interdisciplinary courses use several of these areas to study culture. Offerings are focused on the U.S. and transnational contexts and can help students meet U.S. Diversity and Global Studies graduation requirements. This is a very suitable starting point for students interested in pursuing undergraduate degrees in any liberal arts area and students interested in arts and culture.

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Religious Studies

Learn about the world’s religious and faith traditions and how they have helped shape our societies both in the U.S. and globally. Read and engage with important scriptures and studies of religious beliefs and practices from around the world. Explore some of the backgrounds of controversies and questions surrounding religion in the U.S. and globally, and understand the diversity of religious belief and practice in our society.

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Meet Your Faculty

Meet our full-time faculty:

Thomas Bowen (view Biography)
Co-chair, Humanities and Philosophy

Professor, Philosophy
B.A. University of Dayton
M.A. Loyola University of Chicago
tbowen@oakton.edu
847.376.7084
Office: 3614, Des Plaines

Mohamed Mehdi (view Biography)
Co-chair, Humanities and Philosophy
Distinguished Professor, Humanities and Philosophy
B.A. University of Toronto
Ph.D. McGill University in Montreal
mmehdi@oakton.edu
847.376.7287
Office: 2616, Des Plaines

Carlos Briones (view Biography)
Distinuished Professor, Humanities and Philosophy
B.S. Insituto Tecnologico de Monterrey
M.S. University of Connecticut
M.A. University of Houston
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
cbriones@oakton.edu
847.376.7163
Office: 2514, Des Plaines

Will Crawford (view Biography)
Professor, English
B.A. Jackson State University
M.A. University of Illinois, Urbana
crawford@oakton.edu
847.376.7137
Office: 3618, Des Plaines

Madhuri Deshmukh (view Biography)
Coordinator, Literature
Coordinator, Peace and Social Justice Studies

Professor, English
B.A. Loyola University of Chicago
M.A. Loyola University of Chicago
Ph.D. Loyola University of Chicago
mdeshmuk@oakton.edu
847.376.7032
Office: 2731, Des Plaines

Lindsey Hewitt (view Biography)
Coordinator, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Professor, Anthropology and Humanities
B.A. Truman State University
M.S. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
lhewitt@oakton.edu
847.376.7044
Office: 2526, Des Plaines

Peter Hudis (view Biography)
Professor, Humanities and Philosophy
B.A. Queens College
M.A. California State University, Los Angeles
M.A. Loyola University Chicago
Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago
phudis@oakton.edu
847.376.7178
Office: 2702, Des Plaines

Kristin McCartney (view Biography)
Co-coordinator, Honors Program

Professor, Philosophy and Humanities
B.A. Miami University of Ohio
M.A. DePaul University
Ph.D. DePaul University
kmccartn@oakton.edu
847.376.7164
Office: 2146, Des Plaines

Patrick O'Donnell (view Biography)
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
B.A. Columbia University
M.A. Johns Hopkins University
M.A. Catholic University of Leuven
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University
podonnell@oakton.edu 
847.376.7039
Office: 3616, Des Plaines

Ahalya Satkunaratnam
Associate Professor of Humanities
B.A. Loyola University, Chicago
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside
asatkunaratnam@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Office: 3616, Des Plaines

Glenna Sprague (view Biography)
Coordinator, Music

Professor, Music
B.M. Capital University Conservatory of Music
M.M. Ohio University
gsprague@oakton.edu
847.635.1905
Office: 1360, Des Plaines

Marian Staats (view Biography)
Co-coordinator, Environmental Studies
Professor, English
B.A. Swarthmore College
Ph.D. Loyola University of Chicago
mstaats@oakton.edu
847.376.7103
Office: 2514, Des Plaines

Charles M. Townsend (view Biography)
Professor, Humanities and Philosophy
B.A. Whittier College
M.A. University of California, Riverside
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside
847.635.1936
Office: 3618, Des Plaines

Amy Zumfelde (view Biography)
Professor, Modern Languages and Humanities
B.A. Bradley University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
azumfeld@oakton.edu
847.376.7081
Office: 2604, Des Plaines

 

Meet our part-time faculty:

Kioto Aoki (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.F.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago
M.F.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago
kaoki@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2757/2742, Des Plaines

Jennifer Ash (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. University of Sydney
M.A. Northwestern University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
jash@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Office: B206, Skokie

Jon Benson (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Westmont College
M.A. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
M.A. Loyola University, Chicago
jbenson@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Office: B206, Skokie

Eric Bottorff (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Indiana University
M.A. University of Illinois, Urbana
ejbottorff@gmail.com
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Kelly Cherwin (view Biography)
Lecturer
A.A. Harper College
B.A. Barat College
M.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago
kkcherwin@aol.com
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Adam Darlage (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Xavier College
M.A. University of Chicago
Ph.D. University of Chicago
adarlage@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Toufic El Rassi (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. DePaul University
M.A. DePaul University
telrassi@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Jason Fliess (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Point Park University
M.F.A DePaul University
jfliess@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Eduardo Frajman (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Hebrew University
M.A. University of Maryland
Ph.D. University of Maryland
efrajman@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Mary Hope Griffin (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. New York University
M.A. New York University
M.Div. Yale University
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
mgriffin@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Therese Grisham (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. University of Washington
M.A. University of Washington
Ph.D. University of Washington
therese.grisham@gmail.com
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

David Hunter (view Biography)
Lecturer
A.A. Harper College
B.M. Northern Illinois University
Ph.D. University of Chicago
dhunter@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Matt Klinsky (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.S. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
B.A. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
mklinsky@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Office: B206, Skokie

Laurence Knapp (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. University of Virginia
M.S. Boston University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
l-knapp@sbcglobal.net
847.635.1910
Office: B206, Skokie

Anil Lal (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Hindu College
M.A. Virginia Polytechnic Institute
alal@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Scott McLellan
Lecturer
B.A. College of Wooster, Wooster OH
M.A. Loyola University, Chicago
smclellan@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Office: Room: B206, Skokie

Eugene Muhammad (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Morehouse College
M.Div. Chicago Theological Seminary
M.S. Ed. Chicago State University
Ph.D. Chicago Theological Seminary
emuhammad119@yahoo.com
847.635.1950
Office: Rom 2430, Des Plaines

Clare Pearson (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. University of Chicago
M.A. University of Chicago
cpearson@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Dennis Polkow (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. DePaul University
M.A. DePaul University
dpolkow@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines 

Faruk Rahmanovic
Lecturer
B.A. Benedictine University
M.A. University of Hawaii
Ph.D. University of South Florida
frahmanovic@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Judd Renken (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. University of Texas, Austin
M.A. Wake Forrest University
M.A. DePaul University
Certificate: Women's Studies
j.renken@lycos.com
847.635.1910
Office: B206, Skokie

Mark Samberg (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Concordia University, Quebec
M.A. University of Chicago
msamberg@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Micah Shaw-Rutschman (view Biography)
Lecturer
B. M. Northern Illinois University
M. M. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
D.M. A. (ABD) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
mshawrutschman@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Shannon Sloan-Spice (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Mount Mary University
M.A Pacifica Graduate Institute
Ph.D. Pacifica Graduate Institute
dr.shannon.sloa.spice@gmail.com
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Michael Smith (view Biography)
Lecturer
B.A. Columbia College, Chicago
M.A. Humboldt State University
msmith@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Thomas Bowen
Co-chair of Humanities and Philosophy
tbowen@oakton.edu

Mohamed Mehdi
Co-chair of Humanities and Philosophy
mmehdi@oakton.edu