Dr Chris Watkin

  • For fuller information about me, including research interests, publications and postgraduate supervision, please visit  http://christopherwatkin.com/.

    As an undergraduate I read Modern and Medieval Languages (French and German) at Jesus College, Cambridge from 1998-2002, with a wonderful year in Paris as part of my study. In 2002-03 I completed an MPhil in European Literature and Culture, with essays on Derrida and Calvin (a fascinating combination), and a dissertation on Paul Ricœur’s work on justice. I then received AHRC funding to complete a PhD from 2003-2006, which became the book Phenomenology or Deconstruction? (Edinburgh, 2011).

    After that I spent a year without a regular job, supervising and teaching at various colleges in Cambridge and applying for Junior Research Fellowships. I am very grateful to Magdalene College for the opportunity to work as the Lumley Junior Research Fellow from 2007-09, giving me the chance to get underway with the project that became Difficult Atheism. Gradually working my way further up Castle Hill, I then took up a temporary university lectureship in French and fellowship at Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall) in Cambridge from 2009-11, before moving with Alison my wife to Melbourne in 2011 to take up a senior lectureship in French Studies at Monash University. Difficult Atheism and my primer on the history of Western thought and culture entitled From Plato to Postmodernism (Bloomsbury, 2011) came out that year.

    My current research spans theological, anthropological and ecological themes in contemporary French thought. One project, provisionally entitled The Human Remains, critiques the figure of the human in contemporary French materialist philosophy (with chapters on Alain Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux, Catherine Malabou, Michel Serres and Bruno Latour). I am also working on the first sole-authored scholarly introduction in English to the thought of Michel Serres, a pioneering genuinely cross-disciplinary thinker crucial to debates in eco-philosophy and the relation between the arts and the sciences, among many other areas. I edit the international monograph series Crosscurrents for Edinburgh University Press, exploring the development of European thought through engagements with the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. The series welcomes book proposals from prospective authors.

    In addition to teaching into French core units from beginner to advanced levels at Monash, I coordinate a French elective called “Whatever Happened to Truth? French Literature, Thought and Visual Culture” and the literary studies capstone unit “Literature and Modernism”. I teach on philosophical and literary themes at Honours and postgraduate levels, and have been known to provide ad hoc lectures for the Religion and Theology programme.

    In addition to teaching and research duties I currently serve as Honours coordinator for the school of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics (LLCL) at Monash, and run the fortnightly “Work in Progress” seminars at which Honours students and lecturing staff present side by side on their latest research. It is one of the most rewarding and satisfying parts of my job.

  • Over at Marx&Philosophy, Bryan Cooke (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at last year’s Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference) has posted a review of Difficult Atheism. The opening paragraph gives a flavour of the review’s tone and also of Bryan’s style, which, for all the right reasons, is best left undescribed: Christopher Watkin’s thoughtful, learned ... Read more
  • Over on my personal site I’ve just posted an update on the progress of my current book The Human Remains. The short version is that it has divided to become two books, the second entitled Humanity After God. Read More... Read more
  • Difficult Atheism now on kindle in the US and UK (with real page numbers!) For those of a more traditional disposition, the paperback edition is still reassuringly present on amazon.co.uk. Read More... Read more
  • A new review of my Difficult Atheism has just been published in The Heythrop Journal 55:4 (2014): 755-756. To read the review’s final paragraph and my response, please follow this link. Read More... Read more
  • My article “Ricœur and the Autonomy of Philosophy: A Reappraisal” has just been published online in Philosophy Today. Abstract: Paul Ricœur repeatedly maintained that his philosophical reflection was autonomous from theological influence. Those who seek to contest this view have hitherto sought to deny the autonomy of philosophy from theology, but this article makes a more ... Read more
  • On Saturday I will be speaking at the Reconceiving Naturalism conference at Swinburne University, Melbourne. I originally intended to address some aspects of Quentin Meillassoux’s Métaphysique et fiction des mondes hors-science, but with only 15 minutes there isn’t long enough to get into it. Instead, I’ve decided to think through Meillassoux’s critique of naturalism in “Iteration, Reiteration, Repetition“, ... Read more
  • I have thought for some time now that the next big rights issue for our society will be fought over the status of animals. Reading a short piece by David Wood this morning entitled Kinnibalism, Cannibalism: Stepping Up to the Plate reminded me just how “locked and loaded” this issue is today. For my response to the article, ... Read more
  • My review of Hollis Phelps’ Alain Badiou: Between Theology and Anti-Theology has just been published in French Studies. Please click here for links to the review. Read More... Read more
  • Amaleena Damlé’s The Becoming of the Body: Contemporary Women’s Writing in French has just been published in Edinburgh University Press’s Crosscurrents series. In an interview with Amaleena I explore some of the issues raised by the book. Read More... Read more
  • On the first of April (yes, really) I’ll be giving a paper at the Deakin University Philosophy seminar series entitled ‘Catherine Malabou and Synaptic Personhood’. The paper argues that the way Malabou seeks to understand the relation between brain and mind as an instance of explosive plasticity, cutting across the dichotomy of reductionism and anti-reductionism, risks running ... Read more