photo portrait of Dr. Todd Dufresne

Dr. Todd Dufresne

+1 807-343-8010ext. 8338
please contact by university email for appointments;  Thursdays 2:20 pm - 3:00 pm or as arranged
Academic Qualifications: 

BA Philosophy, University of Western Ontario 1989
MA/PhD Social & Political Thought, York University 1992/1997

Research Interests: 

Todd Dufresne is a Professor of Philosophy. He has served in numerous administrative positions over the years, from Philosophy Department Chair to Founding (Interim) Division Head of Human Sciences at NOSM.

Dufresne's new book, The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene (McGill-Queen's UP, October 2019), is an examination of climate change in light of the history of philosophy after Kant. Bill McKibben, the famous American environmental activist and founder of 350.Org, writes the following: "This is a very fine book: philosophy perfectly attuned to our precise -- and unique -- moment, a moment when our species became suddenly very big indeed." And Brock English Professor, Andrew Pendakis calls the book "Quirky, inviting, funny, but also smart and relevant." The Japan Times (October 6, 2019) remarks "Dufresne uses wit and erudition in a discussion that informs as much as challenges. It is filled with picture-perfect images and thoughtful deconstructions of cogent ideas on every page. It is a call for action, but one that which begins with our own understanding." Dufresne's interview on climate change and philosophy can be found at the LA Review of Books, linked here. Please listen to CBC Radio Ideas broadcast with Dr. Dufresne, which aired April 8, 2020, click here.


Dufresne is also an internationally known critic of Freud and psychoanalysis.  Tales From the Freudian Crypt  (2000) was called "brilliant," "provocative," and "ground-breaking" by Frederick Crews and Rodolphe Gasche. Published by Stanford University Press, the book was translated into Japanese by Fuhito Endo for Misuzu-Shobou (2010).  Dufresne's collection of accessible reflections, Killing Freud, appeared in 2003 (and was reissued in 2006). The Economist called it "cruelly witty," while The Independent said "its erudition offers sure-fire caviar." Killing Freud has since been translated into Chinese by Guofang Wang for The Commercial Press in 2012; and was translated into Indonesian by Agus Riyanto for Penerbit Kanisius in 2010. Against Freud was published at Stanford University Press in 2007. Paul Robinson says that this is "a fascinating new book" by the "leading student of the Freud Wars of recent vintage," while Joel Paris calls the book "fascinating" and "highly accessible." Between 2011 and 2016, Dufresne published three critical editions of Freud's works for Broadview Books: Beyond the Pleasure Principle, The Future of an Illusion, and Civilization and Its Discontents. These books have been recommended by such scholars as Mark Kingwell, Lilliane Weissberg, Frank Sulloway, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Thomas Kemple, Daniel Burston, Imre Szeman, and Vanessa Parks Rumble. Dufresne's latest book, The Late Sigmund Freud: Or, The Last Word on Psychoanalysis, Society, & All the Riddles of Life, was recently published in 2017 by Cambridge University Press.  Reviewed for PsycCRITIQUES, Daniel Burston writes "This book is a must reading for anyone interested in the history and historiography of psychoanalysis ... anyone interested in Freud's life and times will find this an extremely rewarding book".  Metapsychology published their review by David Matthew, University of Bedfordshire -- click here for the online review. Dufresne's interview about The Late Sigmund Freud is available online, click link to hear interview on the book.

Dufresne has also published two books as a co-editor. In 2012 he edited Superior Art, co-edited with Clara Sacchetti, Mark Nisenholt, Kezia Picard, and Daniel Hansen. The book, recommended by Maria Whiteman and Michael Grillo, celebrates and profiles local artists in the context of transnationalism. It was published by the  Definitely Superior Art Gallery (Thunder Bay), and is also available for free download at Google Books. The Economy as Cultural System, co-edited with Clara Sacchetti, was also published by Bloomsbury Books in 2012. About the collection, the well-known scholar Jodi Dean writes: "No longer will the humanities be able to hide itself or others from the confrontation with capitalism facing us all. This provocative collection of critical, and more importantly, self-critical essays doubles down when faced with the retort that cultural studies has lost its relevance: far from irrelevant it is a crucial site for contesting capitalism today."

Recent articles include a biographical essay on Frank Cioffi for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2016); an entry called "Future" for Fueling Culture: Energy, History, Politics for Fordham University Press (2016); and a bibliographic essay on Sigmund Freud for Oxford Bibliographies Online: Childhood Studies (2013).

Some works by Dufresne are available online, including a 2015 "Interview With Todd Dufresne" published by Figure/Ground; an editorial "What's New for Psychoanalysis." Special Issue Introduction in The Semiotic Review of Books ; an Op Ed for the LA Times titled "Freud is Dead -- So How does that make you feel?"; a review of Edwin Hersch's From Philosophy to Psychotherapy for the University of Toronto Quarterly; for the Globe and Mail Saturday's Books section 'Is psychiatry a failure?' a double review of Prescriptions for the Mind by Joel Paris and Doctoring the Mind by Richard Bentall; and, for skeptiko: science at the tipping point Dr. Dufresne on Freud's Looming Shadow of Deception.

Current Teaching

Dr. Todd Dufresne teaches the following courses, though not all in the same year. He can be contacted for information regarding current and future course offerings:

  • Introduction to Philosophy - Origins
  • Introduction to Philosophy - Modern Developments
  • Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • Contemporary European Thought
  • Social & Political Philosophy
  • Cultural Studies & Postmodernism
  • Art and Philosophy
  • Freud and Philosophy
  • Philosophy Goes to the Movies
  • Big Ideas
  • Introduction to Continental Philosophy
  • Fourth Year Senior Seminar - Topics in Continental Philosophy - in 2016, offered "Posthumanism in the Anthropocene"; in 2017, "Exploring Hannah Arendt"; in 2019 "Climate Change"; in 2020 and 2021"Freud"; in 2022 European Philosophy

Dr. Todd Dufresne Book Talk October 2019

In the News:

June 21, 2021

Listen to Dr. Todd Dufresne’s Ideas lectures now

Last week, Dr. Dufresne provided three lectures to the CBC’s Ideas, which build on his 2019 book,...


January 18, 2017

Dr. Todd Dufresne Publishes New Book

This is a new translation of Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents.