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Philosophy Reading Groups 2019/20

Hegel Reading Group

We are a group dedicated to collectively reading the core works of the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770 – 1831). Our goal is to facilitate a better understanding of the often difficult contents of Hegel’s texts and to provide a forum for meaningful engagement between his thought and contemporary questions. Although we are primarily made up of postgraduate students working on Hegel, we happily welcome non-philosophers and beginners in Hegel’s philosophy to join us at any point.

This term we will be working on the 'Objectivity' Section of Hegel's Doctrine of Concept in his Science of Logic. Please have a copy of the book with you for the session. We will mainly use the Di Giovanni translation, but there are usually no problems if people bring other translations (Miller, etc.).

Please send us an email showing your interest, so that we could send you an invitation for the meeting on Microsoft Teams. The invitation is necessary but Microsoft Teams application is not required. You can join the meeting on your browser.

Time and location: Wednesday from 12:00-14:00, Online on Microsoft Teams

Contact: Mert Yirmibes



Interdisciplinary Blanchot Reading Group

Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003) is a highly influential if somewhat underrecognised figure in French literature and thought. Writing prolifically on topics as diverse as literature and possibility, politics and May '68, death, communism, and much more, he also wrote novels and short narratives or récits. His work has been claimed as an influence by major figures such as Derrida, Deleuze, and Foucault, amongst others, and his writings consider thinkers as diverse as Hegel, Nietzsche, Bataille, and Levinas, as well as literary figures such as Kafka, Mallarmé, Valéry, Proust, Sade, and Lautréamont.

The aim of this reading group is to introduce Blanchot through engaging thoughtfully and questioningly with a selection of his fictional and his critical works. No prior knowledge of Blanchot is required, as the hope is to find means of access and engagement with his thought from a variety of backgrounds and positions, and a diversity of participants will hopefully inspire more fruitful discussion of the texts.

Participation is open to Undergraduates, Post-Graduates, and Professors, with a hope of interdisciplinary participation between the Philosophy, English and Comparative Literature, and French Studies departments.

Time and location:

Term 2 - Thursdays from 16:00-18:00 in H0.01 (starting w/c 13th January 2020)

Contact: Alex Obrigewitsch


Communion de Bataille Reading Group

This reading group, or what I would rather wish to call – a communion, focuses on the work of Georges Bataille and his henchmen, including but not limited to: Andre Masson, Roger Caillois, Michel Leiris, Pierre Klossoski, Raymond Queneau, Alexandre Kojève and Lev Shestov. It also show particular passion, toward literary figures including: Colette Peignot, Jacques Vaché, Lautréamont, Marques de Sade, Baudelaire, Catherine of Siena and Meister Eckhart.

General Outline of Topics: First half of the term: Low/High Prostitution, Intense Eroticism, Profane, Atheistic Mysticism; Second half of the term: Torture and Little Death, Sovereign Literature, Theistic Mysticism, Vatican II Overarching: Limit Experience

Time and location:

Term 2 - Thursdays from 10:00-11:00 in H4.22 (starting w/c 13th January 2020)

Contact: Travis Sun



Nietzsche Reading Group

The aim of this reading group is to gather a number of MA and Ph.D. students around Nietzsche's texts. Each week somebody will select and briefly present (510mins) a number of passages, aphorism and/or themes from Nietzsche's oeuvre. The group intends to read, interpret, question and, in general, think with and through Nietzsche's philosophy in a collaborative and cooperative spirit, inspired by Nietzsche's own exhortation:

"philology itself is never so easily over and done with anything whatsoever; it teaches to read well, which means to read slowly, deeply, backward and forward with care and respect, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate fingers and eyes . . . My patient friends, this book desires for itself only consummate readers and philologists: learn to read me well!" (D Preface §5)

Everyone welcome!!!

Time and location:

Term 2 - Thursdays from 14:00-16:00 in TBC (starting w/c 20th January 2020)

Contact: Lorenzo Serini

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'Philosophy in a Time of Crisis' Public Lecture by Professor Etienne Balibar: 'Circulation and Hospitality as Fundamental Rights'

Location: Room S0.21, Social Sciences Building

A migrants and refugees in increasing numbers are subjected to extreme violence in their attempts at crossing borders to reach a more liveable place, a fundamental reflection is needed to update the concepts which frame mankind's treatment of its own mobility. This includes a critical return on the question of the "law of population" of capitalism, but also a jurisdicial elaboration of the rights of circulation and hospitality which articulate territory, citizenship, and community. At stake, ultimately, is a political transformation of the world into a place where everyone can live a decent life.

Etienne Balibar is Emeritus Professor at Paris X Nanterre and Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is an internationally recognised political philosopher and critical thinker, a leading voice in the Marxist tradition, and the author of Spinoza and Politics, The Philosophy of Marx and co-author of Race, Nation and Class and Reading Capital. In these, any many other seminal works, he has addressed fundamental questions such as racism, the notion of the border, whether a European citizenship is possible or desirable, violence, identity and emancipation.

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Starting a Reading Group

If you wish to start a reading group, please complete this form. If you need help booking a room please email