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.
- In my last post I pointed out how time logging can help you build an accurate picture of how much time you are really spending on different tasks. That is only half the battle of taming your timetable however. The other half is working out how you want and ought to be spending your time, and ... Read more
- Research hacks #19: Three benefits of time logging for academics, and one easy-to-use time logging appTime logging is for executives, not academics, right? It’s for lawyers with billable hours, not for researchers with theses and books that take years to complete. Wrong. I have found that tracking the time I spend on different tasks has brought me three distinct benefits, and in this post I want to share some reflections ... Read more
- This is the second of two posts on how to field questions after your paper at an academic conference. The first one, which covers preparing for question time and knowing your main point, can be found here. Get to know the main types of question If you want to know how to answer any given question, it ... Read more
- In this fourth post on presenting a conference paper (following on from planning and writing a conference paper, delivering a paper and timekeeping and technology), I want to think through the often panic-inducing issue of how to approach the question and answer time at the end of your paper. This is the first of two posts on fielding ... Read more
- This is the third post in a mini-series on presenting at conferences. Previous posts covered planning and writing a conference paper and delivering a paper. In this post I offer some tips and advice in relation to two aspects of giving a conference paper that can often sneak up and ambush unwitting presenters: timekeeping and technology. Timekeeping Know how long ... Read more
- In the previous research hack I discussed how to plan and write a conference paper. Now we move on to delivering the paper to your conference audience. Delivering the paper Be enthusiastic, but not manic. If you don’t look interested in what your saying, why should your audience be? But if you come over like the Duracell bunny you risk diverting attention ... Read more
- Judging by their behaviour, people seem to approach to the prospect of giving a conference paper wildly divergent ways. Watching some poor souls present, it looks for all the world as if they consider a conference paper to be the modern-day answer to trial by ordeal. Others seem to be approaching the exercise as a gladiatorial duel, the ... Read more
- Today I want to share one of the earliest research productivity hacks I ever learned, and one that has served me faithfully over many years. The principle behind it is simple: planning increases productivity, and things that get planned get done more often than things that don’t. By and large, and with all necessary caveats in ... Read more
- Over at Progressive Geographies Stuart Elden has curated a list of “some of the posts about writing and publishing from this blog”. The list contains around fifty posts and articles (some by Stuart, some external links) with lots of helpful and thought-provoking advice about research, writing and publishing. It’s well worth a browse. To read all the research hacks posted to ... Read more
- Whether we like it or not, research trends dictate to a significant extent what is published and read in most fields. It’s all part of the room of conversations that I described in a previous post in this series. In order to draw readers to your work and contribute to a conversation that others are ... Read more