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.
- Strange as it may sound, it is easy to drift along in academia without focus. You would think that, with the long hours and hard work involved in research and publishing, every academic would know exactly where they are going and the best way to get there. Not so. There are so many pressures on ... Read more
- It might sound stupid: You know you want to embark on a research project, you might even know you want to pursue a career in academia, but you just can’t settle on an Honours/Masters/PhD project. In addition to asking the three key questions in research hack #2, I want to help you by providing a cheat ... Read more
- In this second post on building your effectiveness as a researcher I want to share three key questions that can help you choose and refine a research project: What research do you enjoy? What research do you think is important? What research conversation do you want to join? Let’s take them one by one. 1. What research do you enjoy? Obvious, ... Read more
- In this new series of posts I want to help you become better researcher and a better student by sharing with you some of the strategies and research hacks I have picked up over my years of conducting academic research and teaching graduates and undergraduates. In my own time as a student, PhD candidate, Junior Research ... Read more
- Here is news of an exceptional event in Melbourne, with Marcel Gauchet on democracy, crisis, and–no doubt–Trump: 27 th January 2017, Time: 6.30 pm. RMIT University, City Campus School of Business and Law lecture theatre Building 13 Level 3 Room 9 Address: 379-405 Russell St, Melbourne. Map Event blurb: This event is part of the French Festival of Ideas (La Nuit des Idées), ... Read more
- Here is the link. Read More... Read more
- At this year’s Australasian Society of Continental Philosophy conference I had the pleasure of responding to Gregg Lambert’s new book Return Statements: The Return of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy. I chose to focus on the very idea of the “return of religion”, its multiple senses, and their potential conflicts. The paper is downloadable from academia.edu and ... Read more
- Pleasant surprise waiting for me at work this morning: Catherine Malabou’s Before Tomorrow to review for @NDPReviews. I worked with the French for the two chapters on Malabou in French Philosophy Today, and I’m looking forward to the translation. Read More... Read more
- I’ve just learned that French Philosophy Today will shortly join Difficult Atheism on Edinburgh Scholarship Online. This, I hope, will come as good news to at least some of those who have been in touch with me about the price of the hardback edition. Read More... Read more
- The latest issue of Derrida Today includes a review of my Difficult Atheism by Christina Smerick. You can read the whole review online for free here. Watkin’s thesis is bold and unapologetic, and shapes the path of his reading and thinking with intense focus. His main concern, bordering on a battle cry, is that the ground gained by atheism is ... Read more
- French Philosophy Today has just been reviewed over at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Here are some highlights: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s famously defined philosophical production as concept creation. If they are correct, then Watkin’s work is not just a scholarly commentary of philosophy but also itself an inventive philosophical work. If Alain Badiou, the first French ... Read more
- This is the sixth in a series of posts providing short summaries of the chapters in my latest book, French Philosophy Today: New Figures of the Human in Badiou, Meillassoux, Malabou, Serres and Latour. For further chapter summaries, please see here. Chapter 6 considers the figure of the human that emerges in Bruno Latour’s An Inquiry into Modes of ... Read more
- This is the fifth in a series of posts providing short summaries of the chapters in my latest book, French Philosophy Today: New Figures of the Human in Badiou, Meillassoux, Malabou, Serres and Latour. For further chapter summaries, please see here. With Michel Serres’s universal humanism (Chapter 5) the argument returns to the question of host capacities in order, ... Read more