CPCT Research Seminar


A face spray painted on a garage door.

2018/2019: Baudelaire and Philosophy

About the Seminar

CPCT’s annual research seminar meets on a bi-weekly basis and is open to centre members, graduate affiliates, and other interested staff and students. It aims to serve as a forum for philosophical work and dialogue at Goldsmiths.

This year’s seminar is dedicated to the encounters between philosophy and the poetic and critical writings of Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire is a pivotal reference for debates on modernity, criticism and poetics, though in the domains of critical theory his work is often approached solely through the prism of contemporary commentary. Baudelaire’s own engagement with the philosophical – for instance in his pairing of Joseph de Maistre and Edgar Allan Poe as critics of the metaphysics of “progress” – has also been insufficiently mined. The seminar will alternate sessions delving into specific poetic and critical texts by Baudelaire with ones that tackle some of the key interpretations and uses of his work within philosophy and critical theory, from Bataille to Derrida, Benjamin to Rancière. The seminar aims to do justice to the richness, complexity and ambiguity of Baudelaire’s critical and poetic writing, to explore his relation to philosophy and the philosophical, and to interrogate his place as a synonym for a certain conception of modernity.

We will be using the following editions of Baudelaire’s works in translation:

– Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil (includes parallel French text). A new translation by James McGowan. Oxford World’s Classics (Oxford: OUP, 1993; 1998; 2008).

– Baudelaire, Selected Writings on Art and Literature. Translated by P. E. Charvet. Penguin Classics. (London: Penguin, 1972; 1992; 2006).

Convened by Alberto Toscano and Julia Ng.

All meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00pm in RHB 355.

A detailed session plan including links to readings is available here


Oct 3 — Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life; “Counterfeit Money”

Oct 17 — Jacques Derrida, Given Time: Counterfeit Money v. 1

Oct 31 — Michel Foucault, What is Enlightenment?

Nov 14 — Baudelaire, Fusées/Mon Coeur Mis à Nu [Intimate Journals]; ‘Edgar Poe, sa vie et ses oeuvres’

Dec 12 — Jean-Paul Sartre, Baudelaire


Jan 23 — Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal The Flowers of Evil

Feb 6 — Georges Bataille, Literature and Evil

Feb 20 — Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and EvilPosthumous Fragments; Baudelaire, “Richard Wagner and Tannhäuser in Paris”

Mar 6 — Baudelaire, Le Spleen de Paris

Mar 20 — Walter Benjamin, On Baudelaire

May 8 — Jacques Rancière, Le fil perdu

May 22 — Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Manet

June 5 — Baudelaire, “De l’essence du rire” / “Of the Essence of Laughter”; Paul de Man, “The Rhetoric of Temporality”

June 19 — Jean-Luc Nancy, Intoxication; Baudelaire, Les paradis artificiels



Women on the Verge of a Philosophical Breakdown

This  seminar is dedicated to women in the history of philosophy, broadly understood, around whom questions of materialism and embodiment have pivoted from antiquity to the near present. We hope in particular to see how the confrontation with forms of inquiry such as fragments, letters, visions and pamphlets compels us to rethink the categories that are customarily used to identify a legibly philosophical, because paradoxically disembodied corpus. Selections range from natural philosophy, the interstices between logic and rhetoric, philosophy of mind, mysticism, critiques of democracy and rights, and psychoanalysis. Throughout we will explore the challenges and provocations posed by these texts to debates on the union of mind and body, reason and madness, vision and idea, reform and revolution, and the ‘woman question’.

Co-convened by Julia Ng (Autumn), Marina Vishmidt, Alberto Toscano, Svenja Bromberg, Stefan Nowotny

Session plan

A detailed session plan including links to readings is available here

4 Oct — Informational Meeting
18 Oct — Sappho
1 Nov — Hildegard von Bingen
15 Nov — Teresa of Avila | Julia Kristeva
29 Nov — Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia
13 Dec — Margaret Cavendish

24 Jan — Anne Viscountess Conway
7 Feb — Damaris Cudworth, Lady Masham
21 Feb — Emilie du Châtelet
7 Mar — Catherine Trotter Cockburn
21 Mar — Olympe de Gouges | Mary Wollstonecraft

25 Apr — Rahel Varnhagen | Hannah Arendt
9 May — Eleanor Marx | Alexandra Kollontai
23 May — Rosa Luxemburg
6 Jun — Melanie Klein
20 Jun — Simone Weil


Leibniz, from Metaphysics to Politics

About the seminar

CPCT's annual research seminar meets on a bi-weekly basis and is open to centre members, graduate affiliates, and other interested staff and students. It aims to serve as a forum for philosophical work and dialogue at Goldsmiths. 

This year's seminar is convened by Stefan Nowotny (Visual Cultures / CPCT). Our main "text" will be Leibniz, from his metaphysical to his mathematical and political writings. All meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 3–6pm in RHB 352. 

Please contact s.nowotny(@gold.ac.uk) for copies of the texts. 

We will hold an initial informational meeting on Wednesday, 28 September. All welcome.

Session plan

A detailed session plan is available to download from Dropbox


About the seminar

Wednesdays, 4-6pm. Richard Hoggart Building, Room 352  

Autumn - Oct 14, 28, Nov 11, 25, Dec 9
Spring - Jan 20, Feb 3, 17, Mar 2, 16
Summer - May 4, 11, 24 Jun 1, 15

The research seminar, which will meet on a bi-weekly basis, is open to staff and graduate students affiliated with CPCT, and aims to serve as a forum for philosophical work and dialogue at Goldsmiths. Though the seminar is organised by the co-directors of the CPCT, Julia Ng and Alberto Toscano, we hope different members and affiliates of the CPCT will volunteer to lead the discussions each week.

Main text: Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (OUP 1977); see also Terry Pinkard’s online translation, with facing German text


  1. Intro meeting; Phenomenology, Preface (pp.1-45, §72)
  2. Derrida, “Outwork, prefacing,” in Disseminatio
  3. Phenomenology, Introduction to Force and Understanding (pp. 46-103, §165)
  4. Heidegger, ‘Hegel’s Concept of Understanding’; Charles Taylor, ‘The Opening Arguments of the Phenomenology’; Hans-Georg Gadamer, ‘Hegel’s “Inverted World”'
  5. Phenomenology, Self-Consciousness (pp. 104-138, §230)
  6. Hyppolite, Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Part III) 
  7. Phenomenology, Observing Reason (pp. 105-210, §346) 
  8. Phenomenology, the rest of Reason (pp. 211-262, §437) 
  9. Phenomenology, the rest of Reason (pp. 211-262, §437) 
  10. Phenomenology, the rest of Reason (pp. 211-262, §437) 
  11. Phenomenology, The Ethical Order (pp. 263-294, §483)
  12. Phenomenology, Culture (pp. 294-363, §595) 

  13. Phenomenology, Morality (pp. 364-409, §671)

  14. Phenomenology, Religion (pp. 410-478, §787) 
  15. Phenomenology, Absolute Knowing (pp. 479-493, §808) 


Texts on the Phenomenology

Hyppolite, 'Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit'

Jameson, 'The Hegel Variations'

Pinkard, 'Hegel’s Phenomenology: The Sociality of Reason'

Kojève, 'Introduction to the Reading of Hegel'

Heidegger, 'Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit'

Houlgate, 'Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: A Reader’s Guide'

Yovel, 'Hegel’s Preface to the “Phenomenology of Spirit” (translation and commentary)'