Christia Mercer studied art history in New York and Rome, before going to graduate school in philosophy (PhD, Princeton University, 1989). Among other awards, she has received a Fulbright Scholarship (1984-85), Humboldt Fellowship (1993-94) and NEH Fellowship (2002), and she was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2012-13) and, along Seamus Heaney, a Resident Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Spring, 2013). Most recently, she is the recipient of an ACLS (2015-16), Folger Library Fellowship (2016), and a Senior Visiting Professor at Harvard University's Villa I Tatti Library, Florence, Italy (2015).
Early Modern Philosophy; History of Platonism; History of Women in Philosophy
Professor Mercer has begun to devote herself more and more to contextualizing the history of philosophy. To that end, she designed a book series, Oxford Philosophical Concepts, that enlists prominent international scholars to think creatively about the "lives" of concepts in the history of philosophy. As of 2015, there are 30 volumes in various stages of production, and 5 published. Along with Eileen O'Neill and Andrew Janiak, she is co-editor of another new series, Oxford New Histories of Philosophy, which speaks to a growing concern to broaden and reexamine philosophy’s past.
Mercer’s major research projects are: (1) Exploring the Philosophy of Anne Conway, a book on the philosophy of the seventeenth-century English philosopher, Anne Conway, whose metaphysical system has not been thoroughly studied; (2) Feeling the Way to Truth: Women, Reason and the Development of Modern Philosophy, which argues that historians of philosophy need to rethink core assumptions about seventeenth-century philosophy and that the writings of women play a much more significant part in that history than has been recognized; and (3) Platonisms in Early Modern Thought, whose goal is to articulate the diversity of Platonisms that form the background to early modern thought and identify the range of Platonist assumptions underling early modern philosophy, theology, and art.