Faculty of Education and Arts

Dr Mathew Abbott

Position: Lecturer, Philosophy
Location: Humanities and Social Sciences
Location: Mt Helen Campus, T Building, Room T301B
Phone: 5327 6331
Email: m.abbott@federation.edu.au

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy - University of Sydney- 2012

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - Australian National University - 2005

Teaching

Program

  • Bachelor of Arts

Courses

  • Logic and Reasoning (PHILO1002)
  • Art and Judgment: An Introduction to Modern Aesthetics (PHILO3200 / 2200)
  • Film and Philosophy (PHIFM1006)
  • Modern Western Political Philosophy (PHSGL2011)
  • Philosophy and Literature (PHILO1009)
  • Philosophical Thinking (PHILO1001)
  • Critical Theory 2: Subjectivity and Difference (HRSTH4022)

Biography

Drawing on modern European philosophy and post-Wittgensteinian thought, Mathew’s research is concerned with intersections of aesthetics, politics, and ethics. He is the author of The Figure of This World: Agamben and the Question of Political Ontology (Edinburgh University Press). It defends and develops Agamben’s thought as post-Heideggerian political ontology, and connects it to the work of Stanley Cavell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Emmanuel Levinas, Walter Benjamin, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He recently completed Abbas Kiarostami and Film Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press). The book crosses the divide between analytic and continental philosophy, drawing on figures such as Heidegger and Agamben alongside John McDowell, Alice Crary, Noël Carroll, and Stephen Mulhall. It develops a deflationary film-philosophy through Kiarostami’s recent cinema, and gives the first comprehensive account of its philosophical significance. His current projects include an edited collection on the significance for philosophy of Michael Fried’s art history and criticism (forthcoming with Routledge), a project on reality in documentary cinema, and a book on realism and historicism in aesthetics. The tentative title of the former is The Problem of Reality: Philosophy and Documentary Cinema; the latter’s is Art and Life.

Mathew has been invited to speak and participated in conferences and seminars at institutions around the world, including the University of Oxford, the Pratt Institute, the University of Amsterdam, McGill University, Universidad Diego Portales, the University of Auckland, Karlsruhe’s Centre for Art and Media, the National Film and Sound Archive, and the National Gallery of Australia. He has taught philosophy, film, politics, and poetry at Sydney, the Australian National University, and the University of Canberra. He has published work in journals such as Angelaki, Sub:Stance, and the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

Mathew completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Sydney in 2012, and graduated from ANU in 2005 with First Class Honours, the Quentin Gibson Prize for Philosophy, and the University Medal.

Areas of expertise

  • Modern European philosophy
  • Post-Wittgensteinian thought
  • Critical theory

Research interests

  • Aesthetics
  • Political philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of film
  • Philosophy and literature
  • Modernism

Supervision

Currently supervising doctoral students in:

Heidegger, technology, and feminism
Trauma and the unspeakable
Contingency, technology, and events
Feminism and contemporary science fiction

Publications

Books

Michael Fried and Philosophy: Absorption, Theatricality, and Modernism (edited collection forthcoming with Routledge)

Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

The Figure of This World: Agamben and the Question of Political Ontology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014)

Book chapters

“Glory, Spectacle, and Inoperativity: Agamben’s Praxis of Theoria,” in Agamben and Radical Politics, ed. Daniel McLoughlin (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

"The Myth of the Earth: Heidegger, Poetry, Politics," in Literature and Politics: Pushing the World in Certain Directions, ed. Peter Marks (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2012

Entries on "Human," "Open," "Appropriation," "Transmission," and "Facticity" in The Agamben Dictionary, eds. Alex Murray and Jess Whyte (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press), 2011

Refereed journal articles

“The Problem of Wild Minds: Knowing Animals in Grizzly Man and Ming of Harlem,” in SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism (45: 3, 2016)

"The Appearance of Appearance: Absolute Truth in Abbas Kiarostami's ABC Africa," in Senses of Cinema (67, 2013)

"Kiarostami's Picture Theory: Cinematic Skepticism in The Wind Will Carry Us," in SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism (42:1, 2013), 165 – 179

"No Life is Bare, the Ordinary is Exceptional: Giorgio Agamben and the Question of Political Ontology," in Parrhesia (14, 2012), 23 – 36

"The Animal for which Animality is an Issue: Nietzsche, Agamben, and the Anthropological Machine," in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities (16: 4, 2011), 87 – 99

"On Not Loving Everyone: Comments on Jean-Luc Nancy's "L'amour en ??clats [Shattered Love]," in Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary (5, 2011), 139 – 162

"The Poetic Experience of the World," in International Journal of Philosophical Studies (18: 14, 2010), 493 – 516

"The Creature Before the Law: Notes on Walter Benjamin's "Critique of Violence,"" in Colloquy: Text, Theory, Critique (16, 2008), 81 – 9

Seminar presentations

The Look of Silence and the Problem of Monstrosity,” Cinematic Ethics workshop, Macquarie University, 16/12/16

Respondent to panel discussion on Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy at Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Deakin University, 09/12/16

“Poetic Thought,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Deakin University, 08/12/16

“Two Crises of Beholding: Authenticity and Identity in Michael Fried’s Art History,” The Fifth Euroacademia Global Forum of Critical Studies, Lucca, 12/11/16

“Against Moral Blindness: The Look of Silence and the Problem of Monstrosity,” Real of Reality conference, Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, 05/11/2016

““The Deep Need for Convention”: Beholding and Judgment in Michael Fried’s Modernism,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, University of New South Wales, 04/12/2015

“Absorption and Spectatorship in Kiarostami’s Shirin,” Cinematic Ethics Symposium at Macquarie University, 29/08/2015

“Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy: Scepticism, Evaluation, and Philosophically Inflected Criticism,” Film-Philosophy conference at the University of Oxford, 22/07/2015

“Modernism and Absorption in Kiarostami’s Shirin: Michael Fried and Film-Philosophy,” Australian Modernism Studies Network conference, University of Sydney, 17/12/2014

Respondent to panel discussion on The Figure of This World: Agamben and the Question of Political Ontology Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Australian Catholic University, 04/12/2014

“Glory, Spectacle, and Inoperativity: Theoria as Praxis in Agambenian Political Ontology,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Australian Catholic University, 05/12/2014

“The Realism of Artifice: On Kiarostami’s Five,” Cinema’s Realisms: Cinematic Thinking Workshop, University of New South Wales, 14/11/2014

“Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy,” seminar presentation at the Centre for Modernism Studies, UNSW, 19/08/2014

“Artifice, Contemplation, and Cinematic Scepticism: On Kiarostami’s Five,” Peter Herbst Seminar Series, ANU, 20/07/2014

“The Moral Claims of Kiarostami,” Federation University Australia Philosophy Symposium, 13/12/2013

“Ethics, Qualia, and Knowledge: On Kiarostami’s Ten,” Cinema and/as Ethics: Cinematic Thinking Workshop, UNSW, 09/12/2013

“Cinematic Scepticism: Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, University of Western Sydney, 03/12/2013

“Agamben and Spectacle,” Agamben and Government workshop, University of New South Wales, 02/12/2013

“Remarriage Comedy, Genre, and Authenticity: On Kiarostami’s Certified Copy,” Thinking through Genre: The Pratt Cinematic Thinking Workshop, Pratt Institute Brooklyn, 03/11/13

“The Comedy of Remarriage in the Age of Technical Reproducibility: Notes on Kiarostami’s Certified Copy,” seminar series of the Cultural Enquiry Research Group, Federation University Australia, 02/09/2013

“Cinematic Scepticism: Kiarostami, Nancy, and the Suspension of Belief,” presented as part of “Cinema’s Suspensions: Nancy and Kiarostami,” panel with Hamish Ford and Christian Ferencz-Flatz taking place at the Film-Philosophy conference at the University of Amsterdam, 10/07/2013

“The Head Awake in the Heart,” Apoetic: Festival of Innovative Australian Poetry, Sydney, 29/06/2013

“Ordinary Happiness: Wittgenstein and Agamben,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, University of Auckland, 10/12/2012

“Everything there is to Know: Absolute Truth in Abbas Kiarostami’s ABC Africa,” presented as part of “The Evidence of Documentary: Representation, Visibility, and Justice,” a panel with Robert Sinnerbrink and Mark Westmoreland taking place at the Visible Evidence international documentary conference at The National Film and Sound Archive, 22/12/2012

“New Quarrels: Innovative Poetry and the Philosophical Horizon,” presented as part of “New Quarrel,” a panel with Michael Farrell, Astrid Lorange, Toby Fitch, and Tom Lee taking place as part of Critical Animals at Newcastle’s This is Not Art festival, 30/09/2012

“The Pitiful Exegetes of Ourselves: On Not Putting Theory into Practice,” presented as part of the “Blind Date: When Theory Meets Practice” panel taking place as part of Critical Animals at Newcastle’s This is Not Art festival, 28/09/2012

“No Life is Bare: Notes on Giorgio Agamben’s Political Ontology,” Sovereignty Stream, Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, La Trobe University, Melbourne, 12/12/2011

“Kiarostami’s Picture Theory: Cinematic Scepticism in The Wind Will Carry Us,” Cinematic Thinking Workshop, University of New South Wales, 05/12/2011

“What is Political Ontology?” Panel on Political Ontology, annual meeting of the Society for Social and Political Philosophy, McGill University, Montreal (event taking place as part of the wider Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy conference), 20/11/2010

“A Phenomenology of Poetry,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Monash University, 30/11/2009

“Nietzsche, Biopolitics, and the Enigma of Animal Life,” Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, 04/11/2009

“The Animal for which Animality is an Issue,” Limits of The Human, ANU, 02/09/2009

“The Myth of the Earth: Heidegger, Politics, and Poetry,” Australasian Association for Literature conference, University of Sydney, 05/07/2009

“On Poetic Experience,” Literature, Film, Gender and New Media Seminar Series, ANU, 19/03/2009

“Walter Benjamin’s Political Theology,” New Horizons in Political Philosophy, University of Canberra, 28/11/2008

“The Picture and its Captives: Wittgenstein and the Tasks of Philosophy,” Analytic Versus Continental: A Rapprochement?, Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy, 11/07/2008

“The Creature before the Law: Notes on Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence,’” Australasian Association for Philosophy conference, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 07/07/2008

“The Unity of Thought and Politics in Giorgio Agamben’s Philosophy,” New Horizons in Political Philosophy, Australian National University, 07/12/2007

“Language, Death, and Polis,” Death and Beyond, University of Amsterdam, 02/11/2007

“The Ethics of Absolute Singularity: a Response to Kevin Hart,” Philosophy of Religion Research Seminar, University of Sydney, 13/07/2007

Associations

  • Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy
  • Cinematic Thinking Network
  • Biopolitica
  • Australian Modernism Studies Network