Sondra Bacharach

Senior Lecturer School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations


Teaching in 2017

Dr Sondra Bacharach profile picture


BA Stanford

MA PhD Ohio State


I came to Victoria University of Wellington in 2003, via California (where I taught at Cal State Bakersfield), Ohio (where I completed my PhD at Ohio State University) and Washington, DC (where I grew up).

I am very active in the aesthetics community. I co-edited the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA) Newsletter from 2003-2010, and then served on the Board of Trustees to the ASA from 2011-2014. I am the ASA-sponsored Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) Summer School Teacher for 2016.

I am interested in issues around equity and diversity. At Victoria, I was a member of, and then convened, the School Committee of Equity and Diversity from 2013-2016.  I’m the staff advisor to the Women in Philosophy group and the Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Victoria group. Join our Facebook groups if you are interested! I also run the “shut up and write” sessions for postgraduate women in my School. (email me if you’d like to join).

Around Wellington, I am an active arts-lover and enjoy helping artists think about their work.  I also enjoy working with pre-tertiary schools (from primary on up!) supporting the teaching of Philosophy for Children in schools. I have been working since 2010 with Island Bay School, and am always keen to meet new teachers who want to introduce Philosophy for Children in their class or school.

Research areas

  • My main area of research is in philosophy of art. My current interests are in various new art forms like computer art, street art, and comics. I’m also interested in the definition of art, the ontology of art, and other issues. You can learn about these issues in Philosophy of Media and the Arts (PHIL 107), Arts and Culture (PHIL 268), and Philosophy of the Arts (PHIL 313). You can check out my full list of publications at my website.
  • I also have research interests in Philosophy for Children and education and philosophy.
  • I am interested in supervising students within aesthetics and philosophy of art, broadly understood, as well as in philosophy for children.

Selected publications

  1. Collaborating Now: Art in the Twenty First Century, ed. Sondra Bacharach, Jeremy Booth, and Siv Fjaerstad, Routledge Press (Advances in Art and Visual Studies Series), 2016.
  2. “You Complete Me: Posthumous Authorship and Secondary Agency” with Deborah Tollefsen, Journal of Aesthetic Education, 49(4) Winter 2015, 71-86.
  3. “Street Art and Consent” British Journal of Aesthetics, (2015) 55 (4):481-495.
  4. “Co-authorship, Multiple Authorship and Posthumous Authorship: A Reply to Hick” with Deborah Tollefsen, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Summer 2015, 73(3), 331-334.
  5. “The Laughter Behind the Painted Smile” in Figuring out Figurative Art: Contemporary Philosophers on Contemporary Paintings, ed. Matravers and Freeman, Acumen, 2014, p. 173-183.
  6. “Defining Art to End It”, ed. Vladimir Marchenkov, Between Histories: Whence and Whither Contemporary Art, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton University Press, 2013.
  7. “Danto” in Key Thinkers in Aesthetics, ed. By Alessandro Giovanelli, Continuum Books, 2012, p. 189-196.
  8. “Aesthetic Value and Artistic Value” (with James Harold) in Companion to Aesthetics, ed. by Anna Ribeiro, Continuum Books, 2012, p. 98-111.
  9. “We Did It Again: Reply to Livingston”, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, with Deb Tollefsen, 69(2), Spring 2011, 225-230.
  10. “We Did It!: From Collaboration to Group Authorship”, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, with Deb Tollefsen, Winter 2010, 23-32.