Gulshan Khan is Associate Professor of Political Theory. Her work focuses on concept development through an interdisciplinary approach. Gulshan works with the following concepts: paradox/contradiction, freedom, domination, control, identification/populism, and dependency. She situates these concepts within a political and socio-historical context and examines how they have been historically used and to what effect, what their strengths and limitations are in our current context and how we can re-think and re-signify them.
Gulshan has a research background in continental theory, deliberative democracy and neo-republicanism regarding discussions around domination, law, freedom, and liberty. She is interested in bringing different traditions of thought into an interdisciplinary dialogue on shared concepts.
Gulshan's current research has shifted from thinkers to the development of concepts. She is currently writing a research monograph on the concepts of paradox/contradiction.
Gulshan's expertise is on conceptual development through an inter-disciplinary approach. She has focused on bringing high profile thinkers from different traditions into dialogues with each other on the notions of politics, morality and freedom. For example, she had brought Habermas's work into conversation with both Michael Oakeshott and Chantal Mouffe respectively; the neo-republican thinker Philip Pettit and the post-Marxist Ernesto Laclau into conversation on the concepts of freedom and domination and she has brought William Connolly and Ernesto Laclau into dialogue on the notion of politics. Gulshan has interviewed the political theorist/philosopher Professor Jane Bennett on her innovative and provocative notion of active non-human forces.
Education is a transformative and life changing process that opens new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing. Through an engagement with the Arts, Gulshan's approach has been to create a trusting,… read more
Gulshan is currently working on a research monograph on paradox and populism.
Project 1: Paradox and populism
Taking a trans-disciplinary approach this project returns to and develops the etymological sense of the term paradox understood as 'against received opinion.' Paradox is a multidisciplinary concept. Its meaning varies depending on its use in specific disciplines or contexts. The technical conception of paradox, characteristic of deductive logic and the basis of mathematics and the sciences, reigns supreme in most disciplines in academia. It is closely tied to the concept of contradiction to refer to an inconsistency that persists between at least two opposing/mutually exclusive elements in a statement. To eliminate the inconsistency one side of the opposition must be deemed true whilst the other side deemed false otherwise a paradox persists until it is resolved in a future time. Real life issues, in many areas, are framed and resolved through this approach, which is the basis of western rationality and knowledge. For example, it underpins scientific approaches where a hypothesis/conjecture is either rejected or confirmed. It also underpins politics as well as political and rational argumentation. Undeniably the principle of non-contradiction will continue to play a significant role in bringing about change and innovation. However, seeking to resolve contradictions to achieve consistency cannot meaningfully engage with phenomena such as alternative epistemologies, incommensurate values (i.e., US abortion laws) and newly emerging phenomena like populism or its related issues like 'alternative facts.' A monograph will develop a conception of paradox as distinct from contradiction, so that paradox is re-conceived as criticism and contestation of existing practices/received opinion with the aim of bringing out different senses that inhere in real events and phenomena such as populism.
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 are ultimately in an antinomy. I demonstrate how embracing the antinomy characteristic 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.
Project 2: Political Identification, Representation and Populism
GULSHAN KHAN, 2019. Contradictions and Paradoxes: rereading Habermas’ charge of ‘performative contradiction’ in light of Derrida’s account of the paradoxes of philosophical grounding Constellations.. (In Press.)
GULSHAN KHAN, 2019. From Domination to Emancipation and Freedom: Reading Ernesto Laclau’s Post-Marxism in Conjunction with Philip Pettit’s Neo-republicanism Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought. (In Press.)
KHAN, G., 2015. Habermas and the Crisis of the European Union. In: KYRIAKOS N. DEMETRIOU, ed., European Union in Crisis: Explorations in Representation and Democratic Legitimacy Springer International Publication.
I'm interested in supervising students who want to work in the following areas:
Concept development (re-signifying and developing existing concepts such as domination, freedom and control)
Continental political theory/post-structuralism
Contemporary democratic theory
I have supervised 7 PhD students as either first supervisor or co-supervisor to completion. I have acted as an external and internal examiner on several occasions. I have worked with students who been successful in securing ESRC DTP scholarships and an M4C scholarship.
Education is a transformative and life changing process that opens new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing. Through an engagement with the Arts, Gulshan's approach has been to create a trusting, supportive, enjoyable, participatory and inclusive learning environment to facilitate new possibilities as well to foster wider opportunities for both students, staff and herself.
Gulshan teaches political theory at all levels. She has convened large modules at levels one and two. She is currently convening and teaching her popular specialist level three module entitled Populism, Elites and Democracy. For this module she developed a creative form of assessment (critical and scholarly Factsheet) and opportunities for student to deliver lecture presentations to enable students to showcase a wider variety of skills that also provides them with an opportunity to take on the role of knowledge creators.
POLI3117 Populism, Elites and Democracy (Level III)
Talis Reading List - https://rl.talis.com/3/notts/lists/15A59B42-A3AA-3AA6-EB4A-4DFEFB459498.html?lang=en
Gulshan has been nominated for several teaching prizes and won three teaching awards: the Dearing Award, the Political Studies Association's Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Best New Entrant, Political Studies Association UK and the Best New Lecturer's award in the School of Politics and International Relations.
Gulshan has undergone professional/formal teacher training at The Institute for Education, University of London, where she successfully completed a yearlong full-time teaching qualification in post-compulsory education (P.G.C.E.) in Politics and Sociology.
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.