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Yi works at the intersections of continental philosophy, world literature and global history. Her research re-interprets the terra-centric western history of philosophy from the perspective of the maritime. Yi explores the ocean as both the subject and the medium of inquiry, both metaphor, idea and materiality. By holding up the sea as mirror to western philosophy understood as a form of historicity and coloniality, Yi works toward a hermeneutic method of re-writing the history of philosophy from a non-western and feminist perspective, as a genealogy and archeology of the diluvial.
Yi's first book The Sea as Mirror: Essayings in and against Philosophy as History (Diaphanes, 2021) traces the absence and repressed presence of the ocean (the Mediterranean and the Atlantic) from Plato/Euripides to Heidegger/Woolf, employing the maritime as a hermeneutic lens to understand the drive of philosophy as both response to and moment within the impetus of western colonization. Yi is currently working on a second book project, The Concept of the Maritime: The Sea as Theory. This project investigates the maritime as a concept against concepts along four dimensions of the post-human condition: natality, wastage, differance and errancy. Interrogating the maritime in terms of its capacity for historicization and re-archivization, it argues that the maritime, utilized as the medium and agent of colonization in political and philosophical modernities, remains ultimately the un-colonizable, both the spectator (theorem) and the agency of political, philosophical and psychical decolonization.