I have recently taken up a position as a lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Winchester. I received by doctorate in philosophy at the University of Essex in early 2013, having previously studied at L’Institut Catholique de Paris, University College London and Kings College London. I was also awarded the title of being one of the ten AHRC and BBC Radio 3 ‘New Generation Thinkers 2012’.
The primary focus of my research has been the ethical and political significance of mourning. I have been exploring this issue through a study of the debt we feel we owe to the dead themselves in the act of giving a eulogy. Is it only a private fantasy that leads us to speaking in terms of “standing up before” and “doing justice” to those who we are confidently told are dead and gone; or, alternatively, can we discover a more tangible form in which it makes sense to say that the dead are still present and still making demands on us. Putting things in terms of the main thinkers that my work draws on, I am interested in the manner in which the dead can be said to “live-on” within material mediums (whether that be the interior crypts of our memory or the exterior crypts of writing, photography and film), and in how these inscriptions or traces are not merely passive remains but can still respond to us and even surprise us. What are the consequences of such materially inscribed “ghosts” with regard to our understanding of self-identity, agency and autonomy? Recent new focuses of my research include the theory of the gaze, particularly as explored in cinema, and the early modern theory of pleasure.
In carrying out this research I have predominantly drawn on contemporary French philosophy along with the Hungarian psychoanalytic tradition. I am particularly interested in bringing the little known works of Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok to a wider audience and in offering a new, rigorous reading of the frequently misunderstood work of Jacques Derrida. It is in the extremely beautifully written acts of eulogy that Derrida offered in memory of many of the major contemporary thinkers of his day that I find an exemplary model of how we should respond to and before the dead. I believe that through an intimate familiarity with these works of eulogy we can cultivate within ourselves a sensitivity whose relevance extends far beyond eulogy itself.
Alongside my broader research and public engagement work I am passionate about teaching my students and beyond the university in bringing philosophy to new audiences. My other passions include literature, art, cinema and poetry, current affairs, travel and music.
The obligatory Black and White bearded pensive photo