Jan Miernowski's profile picture. A white man with glasses and silver hair in a black suit smiles at the camera.

Jan Miernowski


College of Letters & Science | Department of French & Italian

Hometown: Born in Warsaw, Poland. Grew up in Poland, Algeria and Zaïre (today: Democratic Republic of Congo).

Born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1959. High school in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. M.A. in Warsaw, Poland. PhD in Paris, France. At UW-Madison since 1989. For publications and awards, see: https://frit.wisc.edu/staff/jan-miernowski/

Areas of Expertise, continued: Humanism, Antihumanism, Posthumanism, and Transhumanism; Renaissance and Reformation; Early Modern Christian Theology.

Professor Miernowski’s talks can also be offered in French and Polish.


Tickling and Human Condition

By comparing the work of two scientists – the 16th-century French physician, Laurent Joubert, and the 20th-century American animal psychologist, Jaak Panksepp – this talk explores tickling as a philosophical and experimental way of studying humanity.

Virtually Dead. Lessons from Affective Computing

Our technology strives to merge human reality and Virtual Reality is by encouraging users to project human emotions on their computers. I posit death as a criterion of differentiation. To illustrate my point, I will refer to experimental studies in Affective Computing, “De Oratore” by Cicero, and “Marjorie Prime” by Jordan Harrison (2016).

Is Humanism Possible After the Death of "Man"?

French 20th-century philosophy proclaimed that Western humanism is no more viable after Auschwitz and Hiroshima. Facing today’s man-made ecological crisis, our contemporaries agree with this statement. I propose a version of humanism that addresses the concerns of our time.