Oliver Feltham

Professor

  • Department: History
  • Complementary Department(s): Comparative Literature and English
  • Graduate Program(s): 
    Public Policy
    Public Policy
  • Office: 
    PV-204
  • Office Hours: 
    on sabbatical

See Courses >>

Born in England, Professor Feltham joined The American University of Paris in 2004. After a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Sydney, he completed a PhD in philosophy at Deakin University, Melbourne, for which he carried out most of his research in Paris. His PhD focused on the ontological difference between work and action and spanned Ancient Greek philosophy and contemporary French philosophy.

His areas of expertise include critical theory, contemporary French philosophy and Lacanian psychoanalysis. His areas of competence include early modern philosophy, and political philosophy. His current project is to develop a history of models of political action, playing practical episodes of political innovation, such as in the English, American and French revolutions, against philosophers’ attempts to theorize those moments in their systematic accounts of politics and social justice. The first installment of this project was published in March 2013 by Bloomsbury under the title Anatomy of Failure: Philosophy and Political Action. It focuses on the Leveller-agitators in the English Revolution and the philosophies of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. The sequel to this book will focus on the American and French revolutions, and on the philosophies of action present in Adam Smith, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Edmund Burke. Feltham is also interested in contemporary poetics and aesthetics, particular with regard to theatre. 



Education/Degrees

  • PhD (2000), Deakin University
  • BA (Honours), (1994), the University of Sydney

Publications

Books
  • Anatomy of Failure: Philosophy and Political Action (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)
  • Alain Badiou: Live Theory (London: Continuum, 2008)
  • Co-editor and contributor to Autour de Logiques des mondes d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Editions des Archives Contemporains, 2011).
  • Co-editor and contributor to Ecrits autour de la pensée d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Harmattan, 2007).
  • Co-editor, translator and co-author of the introduction to Alain Badiou, Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy, (London: Continuum, 2003)
Translations
  • Badiou, Alain, Being and Event, (London: Continuum, 2006). [L’être et l’événement (Paris: Seuil, 1988)].
  • Co-translated with Justin Clemens the contents of Infinite Thought (see above)
  • Badiou, Alain, “Psychoanalysis and Philosophy”, Analysis no.9, (Melbourne: 2000), 1-8.
  • Jean-Claude Milner, “The doctrine on science”, Umbr(a) Science and Truth Issue (Buffalo: 2000), 33-63.
Chapters in a book
  • “What is Contemporaneity in Theatre? Atomism versus Atavism” in Art and Contemporaneity, Frank Ruda & Jan Volker (eds.), (Zurich: Diaphanes, 2013).
  • “Action and Access to the Absolute in Moby Dick" in Vanessa Brito (ed), Melville e a filosofia: a vontade, as palavras e a acção, Lisboa, Vendaval Editores, 2013.
  • “Etude sur la transformation et la multiplicité”, in Feltham,O., Lincoln,L., & Rabouin,D., (eds), Autour des Logiques des mondes d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Editions des Archives Contemporain, 2011).
  • “Biography” and “Philosophy” in Clemens,J & Bartlett,A., (ed’s), Alain Badiou: Key Concepts (Durham: Acumen, 2010).
  • “On political change” in Mark Bevir (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Sage Publications, 2010).
  • (with J.Clemens) “The thought of stupefaction; or, event and decision as non-ontological and pre-political factors in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou”, Event and Decision: Ontology and Politics in Badiou, Deleuze, and Whitehead (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010).
  • “Badiou und Deleuze: ein oder zwei Begriffe des Ereignisses?” in G.Kamecke & H.Teschke (eds.) Ereignis und Institution (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2008), 29-42.
  • “An Explosive Genealogy: theatre, philosophy and the art of presentation”, Cosmos and History: The Praxis of Alain Badiou, (Melbourne: re-press, 2007).
  • With Bruno Besana, “Préface des Editeurs”, Ecrits autour de la pensée d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Harmattan, 2007), 9-19.
  • “L’acte de hétéro-identification: ‘les mathématiques sont l’ontologie’” Ecrits autour de la pensée d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Harmattan, 2007), 65-70.
  • “Et l’être et l’événement et…: la philosophie et ses synthèses disjonctives”, Ecrits autour de la pensée d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Harmattan, 2007), 107-124.
  • “Une singularité dans la politique: luttes des peuples indigènes en Australie", Ecrits autour de la pensée d’Alain Badiou (Paris: Harmattan, 2007), 197-214.
  • “Enjoy your stay: Structural Change in Seminar XVII”, Reading Seminar XVII, eds. R.Grigg & J.Clemens (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 179-194.
  • “Translator’s Preface” in Badiou, Alain, Being and Event, (London: Continuum, 2006), xvii-xxxiii.
  • “La philosophie, pourrait-elle désocialiser le monde?”, Théorie-rebellion: un ultimatum, G.Grelet ed. (Paris: Harmattan, 2005), 25-27.
  • “An Introduction to the Philosophy of Alain Badiou”, with Justin Clemens, in Alain Badiou, Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy, (London: Continuum, 2003), 1-38.
  • “To Touch on Technology”, Touch and Technology, ed. A. Mellick (Sydney: Artspace Publications, 1995).
Articles
  • “Who Let the Dogs Out? Animalizing Humans as a Condition of Political Philosophy”, Problemi, vol. no. 1-2/2013.
  • “The School and the Act”, “Lacan and Philosophy: The New Generation"” special issue of the European Journal of Psychoanalysis, (ed.) Lorenzo Chiesa, Number 32, 2011, 1. forthcoming 2011. Translated into Slovenian by Samo Tomsic as: "Šola in dejanje", in: Problemi, 2011, no. 3/4, p. 85-108.
  • “After Nature: Modelling Ecological Practices”, Design Philosophy Papers, 2/2011, http://www.desphilosophy.com/dpp/home.html
  • “Jouer pour écrire”, Les Après-midi de LAIRDIL n° 16, 2010.
  • “On changing appearances in Badiou and Lacan”, Umbr(a) Semblance, 2007.
  • “The Open Laboratory: a position paper on the Humanities”, Scissors and Tooth (AUP journal), Summer 2007.
  • “Forget subversion, link up the generic! – A passage from art to politics”, Spectres de l’avant-garde, AS Mediatijdschrift no.176, winter 2005-6, 72-83.
  • “And being and event and...: Philosophy and its nominations”, Polygraph 17 : The Philosophy of Alain Badiou, 2005, 27-40.
  • “Singularity happening in politics: the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra 1972”, Communication and Cognition, Vol. 37 No. 1, 2004, 225-245.
  • “Sovereignty: Ontology and Psychoanalysis”, Analysis no.9, (Melbourne: 2000), 9-17.

Conferences & Lectures

Conference papers followed by publication
  • “Access to the Absolute in Melville’s Moby Dick” at the conference Melville et la philosophie : la volonté, les mots et l’action Colloque International, IFL | CEIL | FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 1st-3rd March 2012.
  • “Who let the dogs out? Political Animality in Hobbes and Badiou”, The human animal in contemporary philosophy, psychoanalysis and science, Conference organized by L.Chiesa and Mladen Dolar at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, May 27th 2011. Translated into Slovenian.
  • “After Nature: Modelling Ecological Practices”, Goldsmith Department of Design, London, November 2010. Now published in the online journal Design Philosophy Papers see above.
  • “What is political action: the Levellers and Hobbes” Historical Materialism Conference, SOAS, London, November 2010. Forming part of the book manuscript An Anatomy of Failure: Philosophy and Political Action.
  • “What is called Political Action in Locke and Hobbes”, Eternity and Change Conference, Institute for Philosophical Research, Ljubljana, December 2009. Forming part of the book manuscript An Anatomy of Failure: Philosophy and Political Action.
  • “Slow fire on black water and a collective body of hunger: theatre and contemporaneity”, Art and Contemporaneity Conference co-organized by the AUP Philosophy Program and the Research Centre for Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits at the Freie Universität, November 2009. (Published as book chapter in 2012 see above)
  • “Method in his Maoism: Dialectical Braiding versus Conditioning” Seminar, The Institute for Philosophy, Ljubljana, April 2008 to be translated into Slovenian. Forming part of the book manuscript An Anatomy of Failure: Philosophy and Political Action.
  • Keynote lecture with Justin Clemens: “One or Two Philosophies of the Event: Deleuze and Badiou”, at the Conference: Event and Decision, Claremont Graduate College, December 2007.
  • “Method in ontology: two objections, redundancy and abstraction”, Conference: Presenting Potentialities in Politics and Aesthetics, Freie Universität, Berlin, November 2007. Formed part of book manuscript for Alain Badiou: Live Theory.
  • “Institution and Event in French Philosophy”, in Sektion 15 Ereignis und Institution at the Romanistagung Conference, Vienna, September 2007. Translated into German.
  • “The Maoist turn: Truth in Revolt vs. Truth in History”, SEP-FEP Joint Conference 2007, University of Sussex, September 2007. Became part of the book manuscript for Alain Badiou: Live Theory.
  • “On Theatre and Philosophy: a New Explosive Genealogy”, Tuesday Night Forum Series, TISCH Department of Performance Studies, NYU, November 2006. Became book chapter in The Praxis of Alain Badiou.
  • “An Explosive Genealogy: theatre, philosophy and the art of presentation” Workshop on Alain Badiou’s Being and Event, Centre for Modern European Philosophy, University of Middlesex, June 2006. Became book chapter in The Praxis of Alain Badiou.
  • “Subtractive Ontology and the Passage from Art to Politics”, BAVO seminar on Rethinking the Avant-garde, Jan Van Eyck Academie, March 2005. Became the article in the journal AS Mediatijdschrift.
  • “Enjoy your stay: Structural Change in Seminar XVII”, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Conference on Jacques Lacan’s Seminar XVII, Melbourne, Australia, July, 2004. Became book chapter in Reading Seminar XVII.
  • “Une singularité dans la politique: luttes des peuples indigènes en Australie”, 3rd workshop on the philosophy of Alain Badiou, Department of Philosophy, Université Paris VIII, May 2003.
  • “Et l’être et l’événement et…: la philosophie et ses synthèses disjonctives”, 2nd workshop on the philosophy of Alain Badiou, Department of Philosophy, Université Paris VIII, March 2003.
  • “Are You Being Secured?”, Ethics and Politics: the Work of Alain Badiou, Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, Cardiff University, May 2002.
  • “Sovereignty: Ontology and Psychoanalysis”, Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis in The Freudian Field (ACPFF) Annual Conference, August 1999.
Conference papers
  • “Political Action in Hobbes”, Versus Laboratory Seminar Series, Jan van Eyck Academie, October 2009.
  • “Education and Action in May ‘68”, Colloquium May 1968: Towards the Naming of the Event, European Studies Research Institute, University of Salford, Manchester, October 2008.
  • “Badiou and Nietzsche: the eagle and the old mole”, Society for Phenomenology and Existentialist Philosophy Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, October 2008.
  • “Response to Ray Brassier” Conference: More than a Lot: Displacements in Ontology, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, May 2008.
  • “Self-reflexivity and eventhood in Dan Graham’s Work”, Conference: Performance Studies International 13, New York University, New York, November 2007.
  • “What is Critical Theory in France” with the Critical Theory Collective, Les lundis de la théorie, Espace Paul Ricard, February 2007.
  • “The Pleasures of Incompletion: France and her ex-colonies”, Politics and Culture Research Seminar, New York University in France. January 2007.
  • “Materialism versus Empiricism: Badiou vs Carnap”, Department of Philosophy, New School of Social Research, November 2006.
  • “On Theatre and Philosophy: a New Explosive Genealogy”, Tuesday Night Forum Series, TISCH Department of Performance Studies, NYU, Tuesday Night Forum Series. November 2007.
  • “Je voudrais un être et un évenement s’il vous plaît” Melbourne Book launch for Being and Event, Readings Bookshop, July 2006.
  • “Materialism versus Empiricism”, Melbourne Badiou Reading Group, University of Melbourne, July 2006.
  • “Response to Marc de Kesel”, 5th Politics and Enjoyment Workshop, American University of Paris, May 2006.
  • “How not to interpret Badiou’s Philosophy” Book launch for Being and Event, Goldsmiths College, London, April 2006.
  • “When Angels Learn to Speak Local Dialects: response to Michael McDonald”, International Communications Department Seminar, American University of Paris, March 2006.
  • “Politics is an art: political enjoyment in Plato’s Republic”, Politics and Jouissance Workshop III, Jan van Eyck Academie, February 2006.
  • “The Pleasures of Expulsion: France and her riots”, Psychoanalysis and The City Conference, Jan van Eyck Academie, November 2005.
  • “Does Dogville Depoliticize its Allegory?” International Association for Philosophy and Literature Conference 2005, University of Helsinki, June 2005.
  • “Languages of Change in the French Revolution”, Rhetoric, Politics, Ethics Conference, University of Ghent, April 2005.
  • “What is the subject for Badiou?”, Seminar on Being and Event (directed by Howard Caygill), Goldsmiths College, London, April 2005.
  • “Jouer pour écrire: le dès, le dessin et le découvert”, Colloquium - La place du jeu dans l'enseignement des langues, Laboratoire Inter-universitaire de Recherche en Didactique des Langues (LAIRDIL), Université de Toulouse, January 2005.
  • “Singularity: an encounter?”, Joint seminar at the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process, Goldsmith’s College, London, May 2004 (with J.Clemens).
  • “Philosophy as the clearing house for truth”, Joint seminar at the CRASSH seminar, University of Cambridge, May 2004 (with J.Clemens).
  • “Capitalism is not everything: Response to Simon Critchley”, Ending up With Religion Again? conference, Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, May 2004.
  • “Le changement et la substance chez Aristote”, Seminar on the Event and the Accident, Department of Philosophy, Université Paris VIII, March 2004.
  • “Introduction to the philosophy of Alain Badiou”, Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Oct. 2003.
  • “Enjoyment and Unrest: the Extimacy of the University” Research in Psychoanalysis seminar series, Deakin University, March 2000.
  • “Mathemes of the University”, Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis in the Freudian Field, Discourses Workshop, Oct. 1997.
  • “The Impossibility of Metalanguage”, Conference: Topologies, Australian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP), August 1997.
  • “What is at work?: Lacan’s discourse mathemes”, ACPF Discourses Workshop, Oct. 1996.
  • “The Event in Spectres of Marx”, Samuel Weber’s Paris Program in Critical Theory, Nov. 1995.
  • “Ecodesign and Systems Theory”, Rewriting Ecology reading group, EcoDesign Foundation, Jan. 1995.
  • Panel Member at “Bleedlines”, Performance Studies Conference, University of Sydney, Sept. 1993.

Research Areas

Critical theory, contemporary French philosophy, early modern philosophy, political philosophy, contemporary aesthetics, philosophy of theatre, theories of action.