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Professor Arthur Bradley


Arthur Bradley

Lancaster University

County College



Tel: +44 1524 594761


Arthur Bradley is Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He has held visiting positions at the University of Durham and the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. In recent years, he has given keynote, plenary and invited lectures at the University of Toronto, Georgetown University, the University of Geneva, the University of Uppsala, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Cracow and Charles University amongst others.

Arthur works at the intersection of literature, philosophy, religious studies and political theory and has written four monographs which explore his research interests in different ways. Firstly, Negative Theology and Modern French Philosophy (Routledge, 2004) was an exploration of the place of negative theology in the work of such thinkers as Jacques Derrida, Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Marion. It was described as a 'key text' in the field by the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. In his second book Derrida’s Of Grammatology: An Indiana Philosophical Guide (Indiana University Press, 2008), he gave the first critical guide to one of Jacques Derrida’s most significant and influential works.

To turn to his more recent work, The New Atheist Novel: Fiction, Philosophy and Polemic after 9/11 (Bloomsbury, 2010) (co-author Andrew Tate) is an analysis of the literary reception of the New Atheism in the work of such novelists as Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie. This book was described as 'paradigm-shifting' by the Times Higher Education Supplement and it has also been positively reviewed in The Journal of Modern Literature, Choice, Religious Studies Review and the Journal of Contemporary Religion. Finally, his most recent book Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) is a genealogy of deconstructive philosophy of technology and includes readings of Marx and Engels, Freud, Heidegger, Lacan, Derrida and Stiegler. In his endorsement, J. Hillis Miller (University of California, Irvine) describes it as 'essential reading' and the book has also been positively reviewed in Radical Philosophy, Choice, The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory and New Formations.

He has co-edited 4 collections of essays including most recently two volumes on the messianic in contemporary philosophy: The Politics to Come: Power, Modernity and the Messianic and The Messianic Now: Religion, Politics, Culture. He has also published articles and essays in such journals as: Review of PoliticsTelosParagraph, Textual Practice, Problemi, Political Theology, Law, Culture and the HumanitiesThe Yearbook of English Studies, Journal for Cultural Research, English Studies, Literature and Theology and Theology & Sexuality. In 2010, he was Co-Investigator alongside Lindsey Moore and Abir Hamdar for the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society research project on Islamism in Arab Fiction and Film. This 1-year project attracted funding of £97,408 to investigate the representation of Islamism in Arabic literary and filmic texts between 1947 and the present.

He is co-founder and co-director (with Simon Swift of the University of Geneva) of a new interdisciplinary research network on critical theory called the Northern Theory School. In 2015, he launched the book series Futures of the Archive: Theory, Criticism, Crisis (Rowman and Littllefield International). Please see the School's website for further information: http://www.northerntheoryschool.co.uk/

In 2018, he will be co-editing a new book series with Ward Blanton (Kent), Michael Dillon (Lancaster) and Yvonne Sherwood (Kent) entitled Political Theologies (Bloomsbury). This series will publish new and classic works on political theology by Massimo Cacciari, Elettra Stimilli, Hent de Vries, Michel de Certeau, Regis Debray and Andrew Gibson amongst others. Please see the series website for further information: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/series/political-theologies/.

Finally, Arthur's next project is a new monograph on literature, biopolitics and political theology which is provisionally entitled Unbearable Life: Genealogy of Nihilopower. This work articulates a new biopolitical category called 'unbearable life' - life which does not have to be killed because it is not recognised as ever having lived in the first place - via readings of Augustine of Hippo, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hobbes, Maximilien Robespierre, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault.



Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. viii +202.

The New Atheist Novel: Fiction, Philosophy and Polemic after 9/11 (co-authored with Andrew Tate) (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), pp. ix +136.

Derrida’s Of Grammatology: An Indiana Philosophical Guide (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), pp. 166.

Negative Theology and Modern French Philosophy (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. xiii + 244.

Edited books: 

The Messianic Now: Religion, Philosophy, Culture ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. vi + 208.

The Politics to Come: Power, Modernity and the Messianic ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher (London: Continuum, 2010), pp. xii + 225.

Technicity ed. by Arthur Bradley and Louis Armand (Prague: Charles University Press, 2007), pp ix + 330.

Romantic Biography ed. by Arthur Bradley and Alan Rawes (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), pp. xvi + 226.

Edited special issues of journals:

'Carl Schmitt, Political Theology and Modernity', special issue of The Journal for Cultural Research ed. by Arthur Bradley, Antonio Cerella and William Rasch 20: 3 (2016), pp. 328.

'The Messianic Now', special double issue of The Journal for Cultural Research ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher 13: 3-4 (2009), pp. 208.

Select recent journal articles and chapters:

'Dismembered: Citizen Sacrifice in Rousseau's "The Levite of Ephraim"'. Review of Politics. Forthcoming, 2019.

‘Terrors of Theory: Critical Theory of Terror from Kojève to Žižek’. Telos. Forthcoming, 2019.

'Illusions of the Future: Ishiguro, Liberalism, Political Theology'. Political Theology 19: 7 (2018). pp. 1-5

'In the Sovereign Machine: Sovereignty, Governmentality, Automaticity’. Journal for Cultural Research. May 03, 2018. DOI: 10.1080/14797585.2018.1461359.

‘Jus Puniendi: La questione della pena in Foucault, Agamben ed Esposito’ in Teologia e Politica ed. Elettra Stimilli (Roma: Quodlibet, 2018).

‘Accelerator despite itself: Credo, Crisis, Katechon’ in Credo, Credit, Crisis: Reflections on Faith and Money ed. by Aidan Tynan, Laurent Milesi and Christopher John Müller (London: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2017), pp. 65-84.

'Odnarejeno: Benjamin in prihodnost preteklosti’. Problemi, 55: 3-4 (2017), 177–199.

‘Let the Lord the Judge be Judge: Hobbes and Locke on Jephthah, Liberalism, Martyrdom’. Law, Culture and the Humanities, May 16, 2017. DOI: 10.1177/1743872117708352.

'"Untimely Ripp’d": Shakespeare, Sovereignty and Unbearable Life’. English Studies. Special issue on Shakespeare and Theory ed. by François-Xavier Gleyzon and Johann Gregory 94: 7 (2013), pp. 788-98.

'Real Time: Bernard Stiegler and the Politics of Digitalization' in French Visual Theory: A Critical Reader ed. by Nigel Saint and Andy Stafford (Manchester: MUP, 2013), pp. 278-98.


2016: Award of £1,829. Principal Investigator on ‘Futures of Political Theology: A Research Collaboration between Lancaster University and the Scuola Normale Superiore’. Faculty Research Internationalization Fund. 

2016: Award of £2,455. Principal Investigator on ‘The Body of War: Drones and Lone Wolves.’ Faculty Research Fund. 

2010: Award of £97, 408. Co-investigator on 'Islamism in Arabic Fiction and Film’. AHRC/ESRC Religion & Society Programme. Research outcomes included: online database; 2 scholarly articles and a major international conference.

2007: Award of £4,000. Principal investigator on 'The Messianic Now: Religion, Philosophy, Politics’. Lancaster University Small Grants Scheme. Research outcomes included: international conference; special issue of Journal of Cultural Research (Taylor & Francis) and edited collection (Continuum).


'Dismembered: Citizen Sacrifice in Rousseau's 'The Levite of Ephraim'. Plenary Lecture. The End(s) of Political Theology. International symposium. Institute of Philosophy. Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ljubljana, Slovenia. 2018.

'What is a Slave? Genealogy of an Artificial Life'. Keynote lecture. Artificial Lives: Imagining Life. International symposium. University of Sussex, 2017.

‘Terrors of Theory: Between Kojève and Žižek’. Plenary lecture. Thinking the Event: Politics, Philosophy, Culture. Doctoral workshop. University of Agder, Norway, 2017.

Past Imperfect: Benjamin and the Future of the Past’. Invited symposium paper. Futures of Political Theology. International symposium. Kingston University, London, 2017.

‘Uncommon: Hobbes and Theoliberalism’. Plenary lecture. Agamben and Decadence. Interntional symposium. University of Nottingham, 2017.

'Futures of the Past; Benjamin, Psychonanalysis, Messianism'. Plenary lecture. Transformations of Psychoanalysis, Doctoral workshop. University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2016.

'Theoliberalism'. Invited seminar paper. Freedom after Neo-Liberalism. Seminar series. University of York, 2016.

'Two Become One: On Roberto Esposito's Two'. Invited paper at roundtable on Roberto Esposito's Two: The Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought. Interntional symposium. Lancaster University, 2016.

'Undone: Benjamin and the Past to Come'. Invited lecture. Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale. University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2016.

'How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth?: Shakespeare, Time, Terror'. Invited lecture. University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 2016.

'Uncommonwealth: The Martyr and the Subject in Hobbes'. Invited lecture. School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Qatar, 2015.

'Accelerator Despite Itself? Paul, Schmitt and the Katechon'. Invited lecture with responses by Oliver Davies (KCL) and Michael Scott (LSE). Paul, Wonder and World. Workshop. Kihg's College London, 2015.

‘Understanding the World: Religious and Secular Perspectives’. Invited discussion with Kenan Malik. LSE Space for Thought Festival. London School of Economics, 2014.

‘Uncommon: Hobbes and Martyrdom’, Uncommon Wealths: Riches and Realities, 15th Triennial Conference for the European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. University of Innsbruck, Austria, 2014.

'Cities of Cacus: Sovereignty, Monstrosity and Terror’. Invited seminar paper. University of Toronto, Canada, 2013.

'Incorruptible: On Terror’s Two Bodies’. Keynote lecture. Terrorism and the Literary Imagination. International symposium. University of Uppsala, Sweden, 2012

'Unbearable Life: Literature, Sovereignty, Biopolitics’. Keynote lecture. Desire, Literature, Culture. International symposium. University of Malta, 2012.  

'"Untimely Ripp’d": Shakespeare, Sovereignty and Unbearable Life’. Invited symposium paper. Shakespeare’s Imagined Orient. International symposium. American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 2011

'Israel’s Vietnam: Framing the Lebanon War’. Invited symposium paper. Terrorism Through the Lens of Literature. International symposium. University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 2010.

'Uncreated: The Beast and the Sovereign in Augustine and Derrida’. Invited symposium paper. Traces of Judaism in Contemporary Thought. International symposium. University of Cracow, Poland, 2010.

'Poetics of the New Atheism’. Plenary lecture. After Atheism: Literature, Science, Belief. International symposium. Lancaster University, 2010.

'City of Cacos: Augustine and Radical Evil'. Invited seminar paper. Center for Behavioral Science. American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 2009.

'Thinking the Hand: Hapticity, Embodiment and Technology’. Plenary lecture. Beyond Constructionism: Technology, Communication, Community. International symposium. University of Volda, Norway, 2009.

 'The Deconstruction of Christianity: On Touching the Frontiers of Theory’. Keynote lecture. Frontiers of Theory: Technicity, Art and the New Media. International symposium. Charles University, Czech Republic, 2007.


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