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Professor Arthur Bradley


Arthur Bradley

Lancaster University

County College



Tel: +44 1524 594761


I am Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Lancaster University. In 2009/10, I was a Visiting Professor at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and in 2013 I was a Visiting Fellow at Durham University, UK.

I work at the intersection of literature, philosophy, religious studies and political theory and have written four monographs which explore my 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. My second book Derrida’s Of Grammatology: A Philosophical Guide (Indiana University Press, 2008) was the first critical guide to one of Jacques Derrida’s most significant and influential works. To turn to my 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, my 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.

I have 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. I have also published articles and essays in such journals as: Paragraph, Textual Practice, Problemi, Political TheologyLaw, Culture and the HumanitiesThe Yearbook of English Studies, Journal for Cultural Research, English Studies, Literature and Theology and Theology & Sexuality. In 2010, I 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.

I am 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, we 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 2017, I 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, Michel de Certeau, Regis Debray, Andrew Gibson and Hent de Vries amongst others.

Finally, my next project is a new book on literature, biopolitics and political theology which is provisionally entitled Unbearable Life: Genealogy of Nihilopower. This work will seek to articulate 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: A Philosophical Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press and 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:

'Illusions of the Future: Ishiguro, Liberalism, Political Theology', Political Theology (forthcoming, 2018)

Jus Puniendi: Foucault, Agamben and Esposito on Punishment’ in Teologica e Politica ed. Elettra Stimilli (Roma: Quodlibet, forthcoming, 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, forthcoming 2017).

'Undone: Benjamin and the Future of the Past [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.

'Imagining Islamism: Representations of Islamic Fundamentalism in 21st Century Fiction' (with Abir Hamdar), Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion ed. Mark Knight (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 446-56.

'"Untimely Ripp’d": Shakespeare, Sovereignty and Unbearable Life’, in 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.

'Shelley Criticism from Deconstruction to the Present' in The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley ed. by Tony Howe and Michael O’Neill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 672-87 

'Israel’s Vietnam: Framing the Lebanese War' in Terrorism and Narrative Practice ed. by Thomas Austenfeld, Dimiter Daphinoff, and Jens Herlth (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011), pp. 219-34.

'The Theocracy to Come: Islamism, Fundamentalism, Secularism', in The Politics to Come: Power, Secularity and the Messianic ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher (London: Continuum, 2010), pp. 174-90.

'On a Messianic Tone Recently Introduced in Philosophy', in 'The Messianic Now’, special double issue of The Journal for Cultural Research ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher 13: 3-4 (2009), pp. 183-90.


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).


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

‘Terrors of Theory: Between Kojève and Žižek’. Symposium paper. Thinking the Event: Politics, Philosophy, Culture. Doctoral workshop. University of Agder, Norway, 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, PhD critical theory summer school, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2016.

'Theoliberalism', invited 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, 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 research seminar paper with responses by Oliver Davies (KCL) and Michael Scott (LSE) at 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, University of Uppsala, Sweden, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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