School of Politics and International Relations
   
   
  
 

Image of Gulshan Khan

Gulshan Khan

Lecturer, Faculty of Social Sciences

Contact

Biography

Gulshan Ara Khan teaches political theory at the School of Politics and International Relations. She is a fellow of the Centre for the Study for Social and Global Justice. Her areas of expertise include the work of Habermas, Post-structuralist political theory, the work of Michael Oakeshott and the philosophy of the social sciences. Her current research project focuses on rethinking the concept of domination and dependency.

Expertise Summary

M12037 Approaches to Political Studies (Level II)

M12009 Democracy and its Critics (Level II)

M13074 Global Insurgencies (Level III)

Research Summary

I am interested in exploring the differences between the republican ideal of liberty as non-domination and the notion of dependency by exploring their respective implications for modern politics.… read more

Recent Publications

  • 2015. Habermas and the Crisis of the European. In: European Union in Crisis: Explorations in Representation and Democratic Legitimacy Springer International Publication.
  • KHAN, G., 2013. Critical republicanism: Jürgen Habermas and Chantal Mouffe Contemporary Political Theory. 16 April 2013 | doi:10.1057/cpt.2013.3.(n/a), n/a
  • 2013. Vtal Materiality and Non Human Agency: An Interview with Jane Bennett. In: GARY BROWNING, RAIA PROKHOVNIK and MARIA DIMOVA-COOOKSON, eds., Dialogues with Contemporary Political Thinkers Palgrave Macmillan. 42-57
  • KHAN, G.A., 2012. Habermas and Oakeshott on morality, rationality, and democratic politics Political Studies. 60(2), 381-398

The subject, self and agency The question of how to motivate and mobilise diverse communities and individuals towards political action is a contemporary problem. I am interested in theorising the notions of the 'human subject', and political action and identifying critical sites and zones of political engagement. Building upon and going beyond my Ph.D. research I am currently in the process of writing a book entitled Agency: the Subject of Politics. It is a critique of the rational self interested subject of liberal discourse. I argue that this discourse produces a subject riddled with guilt and ressentiment arising from an inability to live up to the criteria of 'reasonableness' and 'rationality' by which it measures itself. I examine continental theories of the subject. I evaluate the inter-subjective subject characteristic of Habermas's theory of discourse ethics, 'the subject of lack' characteristic of Laclau's, Zizek's and Badiou's Lacanian inspired approaches, and the agent as 'self' characteristic of Connolly's Nietzschean/Foucauldian approach. I will assess the respective notions of the subject in addressing pressing issues such as multiculturalism, politics, and participation. My hypothesis is that an embodied and affective conception of the subject is necessary to understanding the contemporary actions and inactions of individuals and communities.

The notions of contradictions, dialectics and paradoxes

Mainstream political theories that rely on the ideal or the logic of non-contradiction as a criterion of knowledge fail to acknowledge the paradoxical nature of the subject, modern politics, and of life. I argue that an over reliance on a logic of non-contradiction leads to an impractical conception of politics over-burdened by the ideal of 'reasonableness' and 'rationality'. This project examines the justification of founding principles and argues that whatever form they take - whether they are based on Aristotlean, Hegelian or Habermasian principles - they ultimately remain paradoxical. I demonstrate how embracing the paradoxical status of first principles can contribute towards an agonist conception of politics, and contribute constructively to discussions of pressing global issues such as inequality, environmental degradation and the problem of dwindling natural resources, in a more productive way.

Current Research

Agonism, non-domination and dependency

I am interested in exploring the differences between the republican ideal of liberty as non-domination and the notion of dependency by exploring their respective implications for modern politics. This project examines the notions of enslavement and/or domination in the work of Aristotle, Marx, Machiavelli, Nietzsche and Foucault. Drawing upon Connolly's ethos of critical engagement, I seek to outline an agonistic conception of dependency and identify potential institutional structures to aid this conception.

Future Research

The subject, self and agency

The question of how to motivate and mobilise diverse communities and individuals towards political action is a contemporary problem. I am interested in theorising the notions of the 'human subject', and political action and identifying critical sites and zones of political engagement. Building upon and going beyond my Ph.D. research I am currently in the process of writing a book entitled Agency: the Subject of Politics. It is a critique of the rational self interested subject of liberal discourse. I argue that this discourse produces a subject riddled with guilt and ressentiment arising from an inability to live up to the criteria of 'reasonableness' and 'rationality' by which it measures itself. I examine continental theories of the subject. I evaluate the inter-subjective subject characteristic of Habermas's theory of discourse ethics, 'the subject of lack' characteristic of Laclau's, Zizek's and Badiou's Lacanian inspired approaches, and the agent as 'self' characteristic of Connolly's Nietzschean/Foucauldian approach. I will assess the respective notions of the subject in addressing pressing issues such as multiculturalism, politics, and participation. My hypothesis is that an embodied and affective conception of the subject is necessary to understanding the contemporary actions and inactions of individuals and communities.

The notions of contradictions, dialectics and paradoxes

Mainstream political theories that rely on the ideal or the logic of non-contradiction as a criterion of knowledge fail to acknowledge the paradoxical nature of the subject, modern politics, and of life. I argue that an over reliance on a logic of non-contradiction leads to an impractical conception of politics over-burdened by the ideal of 'reasonableness' and 'rationality'. This project examines the justification of founding principles and argues that whatever form they take - whether they are based on Aristotlean, Hegelian or Habermasian principles - they ultimately remain paradoxical. I demonstrate how embracing the paradoxical status of first principles can contribute towards an agonist conception of politics, and contribute constructively to discussions of pressing global issues such as inequality, environmental degradation and the problem of dwindling natural resources, in a more productive way.

School of Politics and International Relations

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us