Professor of philosophy and religion, MSUB
December 2, 2016
By Blair Koch, University Relations and Communications, 657-2269
Montana State University Billings Professor of Philosophy and Religion Lisa Kemmerer’s spark for justice was lit when she was told she had to wear a dress in order to perform with a beloved community choir in Anchorage, Alaska.
Kemmerer was taken aback. She had recently graduated from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was an adjunct professor of philosophy and religion at the University of Alaska Anchorage when the incident occurred.
Instead of change the dress code, the choir cut ties with the university.
“I found myself embroiled in a human rights struggle,” Kemmerer said. “With that, I re-examined what I was doing and found that I was passionate about justice … that’s when I found out what I wanted to do with my life and I went back to school.”
From there, Kemmerer attended University of Glasgow, Scotland, and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2000.
Kemmerer has been teaching at MSUB since 2004 and today her work is internationally known and translated into several languages.
Her works investigate topics like dietary choices and animal ethics, activism, and ecofeminism.
She has published nine books in nine years and returned from a speaking tour of several European cities to promote “Sister Species,” and “Eating Earth,” which came two months ago. “Eating Earth,” is included in a series of three books which Kemmerer is part of.
Additionally, her book, “Nibbles for Bear Necessities,” has been translated into Chinese and Spanish.
Kemmerer’s stance against testing on animals was recently included in WalletHub post.
This quick read points to her love for animals, as does her life. She grew up on a family farm where raising and butchering animals to eat was commonplace but today she espouses a vegan lifestyle as a point of justice.
“We have to look at the many different forms of oppression,” Kemmerer said, adding that she feels blessed MSUB has supported her work and travels.
This semester, in addition to being on the road for nearly two months, Kemmerer has taught four online courses.
She encourages students to be engaged in community service and explore lessons in the classroom in their everyday lives.
“Study should be relevant outside the classroom,” she said.
Kemmerer was drawn to Billings because of its wonderful outdoors.
“I was only willing to work in a place with a lot of wild and open lands,” she said.
In the evenings and her time off, Kemmerer can be found exploring that wild space with her “three mutts.”
For more information about Kemmerer’s work visit her webpage.