Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Continental Philosophy Reading Group

Meetings are held on every other Monday at 5.30pm in the Hemsley and open to all postgraduate students and staff. Texts will be circulated as PDF via email.

Spring 2017 Theme: Philosophies of Life

This semester, the reading group will be reading and discussing various philosophical and theological texts on the topic of life. We shall begin with Gilles Deleuze’s final essay ‘Immanence: A Life’ (alongside Giorgio Agamben’s commentary) and work our way backwards through the history of philosophy to examine various philosophies of life, from Martin Heidegger’s early phenomenological hermeneutics of factical life, to Henri Bergson and Félix Ravaisson’s spiritualist vitalism, to the Lebensphilosophie of Georg Simmel and Wilhelm Dilthey and their precursors Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer.

The readings for this semester are as follows: 

    • 6 Feb: Gilles Deleuze, ‘Immanence: A Life,’
      Pure Immanence, 25-33.
    • 20 Feb: Georg Simmel, ‘Life as Transcendence,’
      The View of Life, 1-17.
    • 6 March: Georg Simmel, ‘’Death and Immortality,’
      The View of Life, 63-97.
    • 20 March: Arthur Schopenhauer,
      Essays and Aphorisms (Penguin), 41-79.
    • 3 April: Johann Gottlieb Fichte,
      The Way Towards the Blessed Life, 1-18, 39-76.
    • 17 April: Michel Henry,
      The Essence of Manifestation, 66-77, 300-309
    • Easter Monday: special extracts from
      Incarnation: A Philosophy of Flesh.
    • 1 May: Brian Massumi,
      The Power at the End of the Economy (extracts).
    • 15 May: Henri Bergson,
      Matter and Memory, chapter 1.
    • 22 May: Henri Bergson,
      Matter and Memory (extracts).

Texts will be circulated as PDF via email.

Please contact King-Ho Leung for more information.

Summer 2016 Theme: Recent Italian Biopolitical Theory

29 April 2016: Robert Esposito, 'The Dispositif of the Person', Two, pp. 83-135

13 May 2016: Roberto Esposito, 'The Place of Thought', Two, pp. 143-202

27 May 2016: Giorgio Agamben, The Use of Bodies, pp. 207-213, 220-223, 240-248

10 June 2016: Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude (TBC)



Spring 2016 Theme: 'Rowan Williams on Language and Representation'

23 February 2016: 'Intelligent Bodies: Language as Material Practice' (The Edge of Words, 95-125)

8 March 2016: 'Saying the Unsayable: Where Silence Happens' (The Edge of Words, 167-185)

7 April 2016: 'David Jones: Material Words' (Grace and Necessity, 43-90) (with a visit to the David Jones Vision and Memory exhibition at the Lakeside centre)

In correspondence with Rowan Williams' 2016 Firth Lectures on Modern Writing.

The theme of the reading group for Autumn 2015 was Sophiology.

Reading: Sergei Bulgakov, Sophia, the Wisdom of God: An Outline of Sophiology (Lindisfarne Press, 1993)

  • 28 October - pp 13-36
  • 11 November – pp 37-81
  • 25 November – pp 82-113
  • 9 December – pp 114-148
The theme of the reading group for Summer 2015 was Aesthetics, Becoming-animal and Counter-culture.
  • 15 June
    Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, trans. Daniel Smith (Continuum, 2004), chapters 4-5, 7-8.
  • 22 June
    Deleuze, Francis Bacon, chapters 11-13.
  • 29 June
    Jacques Rancière, ‘The Thinking of Dissensus: Politics and Aesthetics,’ in Bowman and Stamp, eds. Reading Ranciere (Continuum, 2011), 1-16; ‘The Aesthetic Dimension: Aesthetics, Politics, Knowledge,’ Critical Inquiry 36, no. 1 (2009), pp. 1-19.
  • 7 July (Tuesday)
    Rancière, 'The Paradoxes of Political Art' and ‘The Monument and Its Confidences; or Deleuze and Art's Capacity of “Resistance”’, in Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, trans. Steven Corcoran (Bloomsbury, 2010), chapter 10 and 12.
  • 28 July (Tuesday)
    Theodor Adorno, ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered,’ in The Culture Industry, trans. J. M. Bernstein (Routledge, 2011), chapter 3; ‘Society,’ in Aesthetic Theory, Robert Hullot-Kentor (Bloomsbury, 2013), chapter 12.
  • 10 August
    Donna Haraway, ‘A Cyborg Manifesto,’ in Simians, Cyborgs and Women (Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181.
The theme of the reading group for Spring 2015 was Hans Urs von Balthasar.
  • 9 February: The Subject and the Object
    ‘Truth as Nature,’ Theo-Logic, Vol. 1: Truth of the World, 35-78. (44 pages)
  • 23 February: Theo-Logic and Trinitarianism
    - ‘Ana-logical Logic in the Worldly Realm,’ Theo-Logic, Vol. 2: Truth of God, 35-62 (28 pages)

    - ‘Trinitarian Difference and Ontological Difference,’ Theo-Logic 2, 173-186 (13 pages)

  • 9 March: Incarnation and Kenosis
    ‘Incarnation and Passion’ from Mysterium Paschale: The Mystery of Easter, 1-48 (49 pages)
  • 23 March: The Death of God and the Hiatus
    ‘The Death of God as Wellspring of Salvation, Revelation and Theology,’ Mysterium Paschale, 49-88 (50 pages)

  • 6 April: The Mystery of Easter
    Extracts from the rest of Mysterium Paschale
  • 20 April: Becoming and the Immanent Infinite
    ‘Philosophy of Becoming and Desire,’ Presence and Thought: The Religious Philosophy of Gregory of Nyssa, 27-70 (44 pages)
  • 4 May: Knowledge and the Philosophy of Image
    ‘Philosophy of Becoming and Desire’ (cont’d), ‘Philosophy of Image’, Presence and Thought, 71-131 (38 pages)

  • 18 May: Transposition of Becoming and the Image
    ‘Philosophy of Love’, Presence and Thought, 153-180 (38 pages)

  • 1 June: Theo-Aesthetics and Metaphysics
    ‘Our Inheritance and the Christian Task’, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 5: The Realm of Metaphysics in the Modern Age, 597-598, 613-634, 646-656 (35 pages)
The theme of the reading group for Autumn 2014 was Derrida and Malabou; Messianicity and Plasticity.
  • 14 October - Session 1: Jacques Derrida, ‘The Ends of Man,’ in Margins of Philosophy, 109-136.
  • 4 November - Session 2: Catherine Malabou, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction, 1-62.
  • 18 November - Session 3: Catherine Malabou, ‘Afterword: Of the Impossibility of Feeling — Plasticity,’ in Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing, 64-82; Catherine Malabou, ‘The End of Writing? Grammatology and Plasticity’, The European Legacy 12 (2007): 431-441.
  • 1 December - Session 4: Marcel Mauss, The gift (Cunnison translation), online open access available.

More information

Please contact King-Ho Leung.


Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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