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 pair of thinkers to look at together), and a dissertation on Paul Ricœur’s writing on justice. I then received AHRC funding to complete a PhD from 2003-2006, which became the book Phenomenology or Deconstruction?

    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. In addition to teaching and research duties I currently serve as convenor of the French program and as Honours coordinator for the school of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash.

  • 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
  •   A couple of years ago I had the privilege of speaking at Lund university on the subject of Quentin Meillassoux’s treatment of the anthypothetical principle of logic in L’Inexistence divine and elsewhere. Thanks in large part to the persistent hard work of Admir Skodo, the conference papers have been reworked, expanded, and found their way to publication with ... Read more
  • I am delighted that Crosscurrents will be publishing Wahida Khandker’s new book Philosophy, Animality and the Life Sciences in July 2014. The book is a study of pathological concepts of animal life in Continental philosophy from Bergson to Haraway. Here is the blurb: Amongst contemporary debates about our relation to non-human animals, our use of them for scientific research remains a hugely contentious ... Read more
  • I am currently working on a book provisionally entitled The Human Remains: French Philosophy in the Image of God. The first part of the book looks at the ways in which the imago dei motif is explicitly taken up in contemporary French thought. The second, longer part takes debates from the philosophical reception of the imago dei motif ... Read more
  • A piece I prepared for a symposium on Kevin Hart at last year’s Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy has just been published in Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. The piece is entitled ‘De omni re scibili‘ and deals in part with a distinction between two contrasting paradigms of interdisciplinarity (in this context, between philosophy and ... Read more
  • How do we decide if a particular philosophy is covertly theological? One all-too-common response to this question boils down to little more than a theological bird-watching expedition in which we don our binoculars, pick up our guide books and descend upon an unsuspecting article or book in the hope of catching sight of a Lesser Spotted Miracle ... Read more
  • I’m currently working on Michel Serres’ four books on humanism from 2001-2009, in which he seeks to break down the qualitative distinction between the human and the non-human in a fundamental way. In these books and elsewhere he develops what I think it is best to call an ‘econarratology’, though see the qualification of that ... Read more
  • Editions Excelsis have published La foi chrétienne et les défis du monde contemporain (The Christian Faith and the Challenges of the Contemporary World), for which I had the privilege to write a 5000 word article on Christianity and relativism, moving through the bible, Augustine, Pascal, Derrida, debates in the French parliament and C. S. Lewis. Here is ... Read more
  • he Heraclitean panta In Plato’s Cratylus, Heraclitus is quoted as holding that ‘πάντα χωρεῖ’ (panta chōrei, everything changes), a reality he sees symbolised in the element of fire: All things are an exchange for fire, and fire for all things, as goods for gold and gold for goods. (Heraclitus, Fragment 22 in the  Diels-Kranz collection of Presocratic sources.) This ... Read more