Kathryn Sophia Belle, Ph.D.
(formerly Kathryn T. Gines)
Associate Professor, Philosophy, Penn State University
Founding Director, Collegium of Black Women Philosophers
Founding Director, La Belle Vie: Coaching. Workshops. Retreats.
NOTE: I changed my name from Kathryn T. Gines to KATHRYN SOPHIA BELLE to honor my maternal grandmother (Kathryn Bell). I added the extra "e" (from Bell to Belle) for self-differentiation and for the meaning ("beauty"). Often our names are patrilineal. We frequently (not always) carry names of fathers, then husbands. It is POWERFUL to me that my maternal grandmother named herself and it is an honor to connect to that power and legacy by choosing my version of a matrilineal name.
Professor Belle's primary research and teaching interests lie in Continental philosophy (especially Existentialism and Phenomenology), African American/Africana Philosophy, Black Feminist Philosophy, and Critical Philosophy of Race. She has also taught in African American Studies/African Diaspora Studies. Some of the major figures she writes about and teaches include Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Anna Julia Cooper and Richard Wright. Under the name Kathryn T. Gines, she has published articles on race, assimilation, feminism, intersectionality, and sex and sexuality in contemporary hip-hop. She co-edited an anthology titled Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy (SUNY Press, 2010) and is author of Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question (Indiana University Press, 2014).
Professor Belle is the founding director of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers (CBWP), the former director (2010-2016) of Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy (CUSP), and a founding co-editor (2013-2016) of the journal Critical Philosophy of Race (CPR). She has been an active member of several professional organizations such as the American Philosophical Association, Society for Phenomenology and Existentialist Philosophy, Caribbean Philosophical Association, and Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora.
As a happily unmarried co-parent of four wonderful and well-adjusted children, she has a passion for empowering academics and high achieving professionals. Belle offers coaching and workshops on work/life balance, wellness and self-care, and discovering/defining your purpose. She is also a certified yoga instructor (RYT, 500).