In Memoriam: Dr. Catherine E. Hundleby (1966-2023)

In drawing attention to the way things like politeness in argumentation have a tendency to move women to the margins and even silence their voices, Catherine (Cate) Hundleby, who died suddenly in August, was continuing her career-long advocacy for women in academia generally and in the field of argumentation studies specifically. Cate was a woman who refused to be marginalized in any way. Instead, she revelled in the transgressive feminist modes that liberated and exhilarated and made “the assertiveness of argumentation and even its tendency toward aggression both exciting and deeply empowering” (2013, 243). No one who knew Cate could fail to recognize her in the image she evoked of the passionate feminist arguer.

She stamped this image on all she wrote and on every project she promoted, from the causes of equity that she championed on the campus of the University of Windsor (where she was awarded the Mary Lou Dietz Equity Leadership Award in 2021) to the development of the only interdisciplinary Argumentation Studies program in North America that she built and fostered on the same campus, where she held the rank of Full Professor.

Loved as a teacher, a scholar and a colleague, Cate joined the faculty at the University of Windsor in 2003, having completed her graduate work at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Guelph, and taught previously at Eastern Oregon University. At Windsor, she was a valued and active member of both the department of Philosophy and the Women’s and Gender Studies program. But one of her most significant accomplishments was the development of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Argumentation Studies, for which she became the first Director and which she was still leading at the time of her death. Her sudden absence leaves a gap in the lives of students and faculty alike that will be difficult to fill.

She was a woman of compassion and conviction, and those attributes are evident in her scholarship. While she also contributed to work in Epistemology and the Philosophy of Science, her reputation among informal logicians lies with several important pieces in Feminist Argumentation, such as the 2013 paper on aggression, politeness and abstract adversaries that was referred to above. Among other works, she edited Reasoning to Change (with Phyllis Rooney) in 2010, a collection on issues in philosophy and argumentation theory from the 2008 conference of the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy, of which she was an active member. And she also edited in 2016 a collection of papers examining the work of Trudy Govier (Reasonable Response: The Thought of Trudy Govier). Most recently, she published a paper on social justice and fallacy theory in Argumentation (June 2023). But many readers may know her most for her important article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Feminist Perspectives on Argumentation (2021). Her February 2019 Ted Talk, “Live to Argue Another Day” continues to draw viewers:

At CRRAR, in the Argumentation Studies program at Windsor, and in the field in general, we will miss her wise counsel, friendship, and joyful laugh. To honour this fine scholar whose contributions have ended far too soon, Informal Logic will publish a Special Issue in 2025 on her work. We hope many who have been influenced by this work will consider contributing.

Memorial Announcement:

The Philosophy Department, in association with Interdisciplinary and Critical Studies (Women and Gender Studies), will be holding a memorial to celebrate the life of Dr. Catherine Hundleby. The event will take place on Friday, September 29, 2023, in the Freed-Orman Centre, University of Windsor Campus. The gathering will begin at 12:30 p.m. and the Centre will remain open until 4:00 p.m. to provide people with a place for casual conversation, shared remembrances, and other less formal interactions. The celebration will be live-streamed, for those who are unable to attend the event. Light refreshments will be provided. 

We kindly ask that you RSVP to the Department of Philosophy, (subject line Sept 29 RSVP); and please indicate if you're planning on attending in person or via live-stream.

For anyone interested in contributing to the Dr. Catherine Hundleby Memorial Fund, please click on the link below. You will be brought to a page called "Support Windsor." On the page you will find a section titled "Designation: Philosophy Trust." Directly under this you will see a section labeled "Leave a Comment (Optional)." In this section you should type the following comment: "Dr. C. Hundleby Memorial Fund". This will ensure that your donation is sent to the right location.

Dr. Catherine Hundleby Memorial Fund

If you are donating using a Cheque, please add "payable to 'The University of Windsor' with "Dr. C. Hundleby Memorial Fund" in the Memo section of the Cheque.