Barry McNamara  |   Published December 05, 2019

Reading the ‘Father of American Psychology’

Philosophy professor Ermine Algaier publishes book on William James, serves as scholar in Germany.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – A Monmouth College professor recently notched two impressive achievements in his work on American philosopher William James.

ERMINE ALGAIER: Served as the 2019 William James scholar-in-residence at the James Center at Univ... ERMINE ALGAIER: Served as the 2019 William James scholar-in-residence at the James Center at Universität Potsdam in Germany – the eighth scholar to receive the honor.Visiting assistant professor Ermine Algaier has published a book about the personal library of James, one of the most influential U.S. philosophers and often called “the father of American psychology.” Algaier also recently served as a scholar-in-residence at one of Germany’s top universities.

Titled Reconstructing the Personal Library of William James: Markings and Marginalia from the Harvard Library Collection, Algaier’s book was published as part of the American Philosophy Series by Lexington Books.

In November, Algaier served as the 2019 William James scholar-in-residence at the James Center at Universität Potsdam in Germany. He was the eighth scholar to receive the honor.

“I gave one talk on my book, and there were two workshops,” he said. “One of the workshops was on an essay I recently published in an edited volume on James and morality. The other is a paper I’ve been working on that addresses the issue of marginalization from the standpoint of James’s conception of religion.”

Algaier was impressed by his reception, as well as by the university’s setting.

Reconstructing the Personal Library of William James: Markings and Marginalia from the Harvard Li... Reconstructing the Personal Library of William James: Markings and Marginalia from the Harvard Library Collection was a four-year project for Ermine Algaier.“The workshops were wonderful,” he said. “They were well attended by faculty and students who read my work very carefully. We had some really interesting and productive discussions about James’s life and works. I am very grateful to Professor Dr. Logi Gunnarsson and hope to continue working with him and the James Center in the future.”

Algaier said that Universität Potsdam was the summer palace of Francis the Great, King of Prussia, who ruled in the 18th century.

“It is staggeringly beautiful,” he said. “Overall, it was an incredible experience. It is such an honor to follow a group of amazing scholars-in-residence who have produced a significant impact in the field of Jamesian studies.”

Earlier this year, Algaier was named general editor of William James Studies, an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing scholarly articles related to the life, work and influence of James.

Algaier earned his bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Youngstown (Ohio) State University, his master’s degree in philosophy from Brock (Ontario) University and a doctorate in religious studies from Temple University. He came to Monmouth in 2017 from Harvard Divinity School, where he was a postdoctoral fellow.

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