School of Arts

Dr Mathew Abbott

Position: Senior Lecturer (Philosophy)
Location: Humanities and Social Sciences
Location: Mt Helen Campus, H Building, Room 214 
Phone: 5327 6331
Email: m.abbott@federation.edu.au

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy - University of Sydney- 2012

Bachelor of Arts - Australian National University - 2005

Teaching

Program

  • Bachelor of Arts

Courses

  • Ethics, Nature, and Human Flourishing: Contemporary Philosophies of Value (BAPHL 2001 / 3001)
  • Applied Ethics in Contemporary Societies (BAXCD 2004)
  • Philosophy in History (BAKIP 2004 / 3004)
  • Mind, Meaning, and Consciousness: Perspectives from Anglo-American and European Philosophy (BAPHL 2003 / 3003)
  • Foundations of Knowledge (FEAFN 1101)

Biography

Drawing on figures from modern European philosophy, Mathew’s research is concerned with issues in aesthetics and value theory. 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. In 2016 he published Abbas Kiarostami and Film Philosophy (Edinburgh). 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. He recently published Michael Fried and Philosophy: Modernism, Intention, and Theatricality, an edited collection on the philosophical significance of Michael Fried’s art history and criticism (Routledge). He has a monograph in progress on rationality, naturalism, and modernist art.

Mathew has been invited to speak and participated in conferences and seminars around the world, including at the University of Oxford, London’s Whitechapel Gallery, the Pratt Institute, McGill University, the University of Amsterdam, Lancaster University, the University of Essex, the University of Münster, Karlsruhe’s Centre for Art and Media, the University of Malta, the University of Porto, Lucca’s Palazzo Bernadini, Universidad Diego Portales, the University of Auckland, the National Film and Sound Archive, and the National Gallery of Australia. He has taught philosophy, film, politics, and poetry at the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, and the University of Canberra. Mathew completed his PhD in philosophy at Sydney in 2012, and graduated from ANU with First Class Honours, the Quentin Gibson Prize for Philosophy, and the University Medal.

Mathew spent the second half of 2018 on research leave in Germany, where he joined the Research Center for Analytic German Idealism at the University of Leipzig as Visiting Senior Research Fellow.

Areas of expertise

Post-Kantian thought

Research interests

  • Aesthetics
  • Political and moral philosophy
  • Modernism

Supervision

Currently supervising HDR students in:

  • Literary aesthetics
  • Human rights and ideal theory in political philosophy
  • The philosophy of technology and events
  • Feminism and contemporary science fiction
  • Contemporary art and psychoanalytic theory
  • Heidegger, technology and authenticity

PhD completions

  • Richard Hammond – “Misogynology and the Impossibility of Dwelling”
  • Cassie Pedersen – “The Immanence of Traumatic Rupture: From the Extra/Ordinary to the Originary”

Publications

Books

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)

Edited collections

Michael Fried and Philosophy: Modernism, Intention, and Theatricality (New York and London: Routledge, 2018)

Book chapters

“Philosophy and Lyric Poetry,” in Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Literature, ed. Barry Stocker and Michael Mack (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

“Modernism and the Discovery of Finitude” in Michael Fried and Philosophy: Modernism, Intention, and Theatricality, ed. Mathew Abbott (New York and London: Routledge, 2018)

“Michael Fried and Philosophy,” in Michael Fried and Philosophy: Modernism, Intention, and Theatricality, ed. Mathew Abbott (New York and London: Routledge, 2018)

“Agamben and Heidegger,” in Agamben’s Philosophical Lineage, ed. Adam Kotsko and Carlo Salzani (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017)

“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 Look of Silence and the Problem of Monstrosity,” in Film-Philosophy (21: 3, 2017), 392 - 409

“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 (last 10 yrs)

“Hegel’s Amphibians and Géricault’s Horses: Animal Vulnerability in Self-Conscious Life,” Continental Philosophy Seminar Series, Flinders University, Adelaide, 17/05/2019

“The Philosophy of Art and Evolution: Reflections on the Role of Rationality in Our Aesthetic Lives,” Cultural Enquiry Research Group Seminar, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, 02/05/2019

“Aesthetic Display in Human and Animal Life,” Federation University Australia Philosophy Symposium, 18/02/2019

“Art, Evolution, and the Issue of the Display: Toward a Problematic Naturalism,” Naturalism and Sociality: Conference of the Australian Hegel Society, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 14/02/2019

“Art, Evolution, and Rational Self-Consciousness,” Engaging the Contemporary 2018: Reconfiguring the Aesthetic, University of Malta, Valletta, 01/11/2018

“Vicissitudes of Conviction: Stanley Cavell and Michael Fried on Scepticism, Theatricality, and Reality,” European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies conference, University of Münster, 05/09/2018

“Peacock Tails, Human Art, and the Issue of Display,” Society for European Philosophy conference, Essex University, 18/06/2018

“Display in Human Art and the Aesthetic Lives of Animals,” Theatricality and the Arts, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 12/06/2018

Grey Gardens, Performativity, and the Problem of Reality,” Moving Image and Philosophy conference, University of Porto, 08/07/2017

“Authenticity and Performativity in Grey Gardens: Notes on the Ethics of Observational Documentary,” Film-Philosophy conference, Lancaster University, 05/07/2017

“Authenticity and Objectivity in Grey Gardens,” Cinematic Ethics workshop, Macquarie University, 19/05/2017

The Look of Silence and the Problem of Monstrosity,” Cinematic Ethics workshop, Macquarie University, 16/12/2016

Respondent to panel discussion on Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy at Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Deakin University, 09/12/2016

“Poetic Thought,” Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy conference, Deakin University, 08/12/2016

“Two Crises of Beholding: Authenticity and Identity in Michael Fried’s Art History,” The Fifth Euroacademia Global Forum of Critical Studies, Lucca, 12/11/2016

“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, 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," University of Ballarat Philosophy Symposium, 13/12/2013

"Ethics, Qualia, and Knowledge: On Kiarostami's Ten," Cinema and/as Ethics: Cinematic Thinking Workshop, 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, University of Ballarat, 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 in Canberra, 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, Australian National University, 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, Australian National University, 19/03/2009

Associations

  • Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy
  • Society for European Philosophy
  • Cinematic Thinking Network
  • Biopolitica
  • Australian Modernism Studies Network
  • European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies