(Sophie) S van Balen


Sophie van Balen (MA) is PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Philosophy. She is also PhD Council chair at OZSW (Dutch Research School of Philosophy) and editor/moderator at philosophical café Felix & Sofie.

Her PhD project, which received NWO-funding within the research program PhD in the Humanities (2021), brings together contemporary continental climate philosophy with feminist theory and politics. Picking up on the 'forgetting of air' that both Luce Irigaray and Peter Sloterdijk theorise, Sophie van Balen approaches climate disruption by thinking through breath. If we figure out a way to think about our (human and non-human) existence as situated in air, what might that tell us about how intimately exposed we are to climate change? Via phenomenological and ontological work, and by doing case studies on the nitrogen crisis and the biodiversity crisis, Sophie van Balen develops a politics of breath.

Together with dr. Irene van Oorschot and Maaike van Papeveld (MA), Sophie van Balen designed and worked on the societal research project ‘Voel je het veranderen?’ into the citizen experiences of a changing climate in the city of Rotterdam in 2021-2022 which received funding from Rotterdams Weerwoord. In 2019, Sophie van Balen co-organised the fourth biennial conference in Performance Philosophy ‘Between Institution and Intoxication: How does Performance Philosophy Intervene?’ and was guest-editor together with Ricarda Franzen (UvA) for the subsequent journal issue.

She taught many courses in political philosophy and climate philosophy, among which recently: Contemporary Challenges (guest lectures), Close Reading bell hooks (coordination & teaching), Contemporary Political Philosophy (lecture, PBLs), Climate Crisis (PBLs), Feminist Philosophy (PBLs), and Public Philosophy (seminar).

Erasmus School of Philosophy

PhD candidate | PhD ESPhil
Burg. Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam

More information


  • Sophie van Balen (2023) - Zorgdragen voor een adembare omgeving
  • Sophie van Balen & Irene van Oorschot (2023) - Everyday Ingenuities
  • Sophie van Balen (2023) - Resisting Closure
  • Sophie van Balen (2022) - Sterrenstof ademen
  • Sophie van Balen (2022) - Zouden we ons meer thuis moeten voelen in de natuur?
  • Sophie van Balen (2022) - OK, so the climate is in crisis?

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