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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Ian James

Ian James
Head of Section of French
Reader in Modern French Literature and Thought
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)1223 335767 (Department of French)
(+44) (0)1223 334852 (Downing)

Downing College 
Regent Street 


Dr James' research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary French literature and philosophy. His most recent book explores the relationship between philosophy and science as articulated in the work of four contemporary French thinkers—Jean-Luc Nancy, François Laruelle, Catherine Malabou, and Bernard Stiegler. Situating their writings within both contemporary scientific debates and the philosophy of science, the book elaborates a philosophical naturalism that is notably distinct from the Anglo-American tradition and that also diverges decisively from the ways in which continental philosophy has previously engaged with the sciences. His future research will explore the implications of this post-deconstructive naturalism for literary criticism and aesthetic thought more generally.

Ian James is the author of The Technique of Thought: Nancy, Laruelle, Stiegler and Malabou After Naturalism (Minnesota University Press, 2019), The New French Philosophy (Polity, 2012), Paul Virilio (Routledge, 2007), The Fragmentary Demand: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy (Stanford University Press, 2006), and Pierre Klossowski: The Persistence of a Name (Oxford Legenda, 2000). He is also co-editor of Whispers of the Flesh: Essays in Memory of Pierre Klossowski (Diacritics, Spring 2005), Exposures: Critical Essays on Jean-Luc Nancy (Oxford Literary Review, vol. 27, 2005) and Lucidity: Essays in Honour of Alison Finch (Oxford: Legenda, 2016).

Dr James welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to his interests.

Teaching interests: 

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century French philosophy and literary/critical theory.

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature and culture.

Research interests: 

Recent and contemporary French philosophy.

The interplay of philosophy and literature in twentieth- and twenty-first-century French writing.

The relation of the arts to the sciences.

Literary and visual aesthetics.

Spatial theory and representations of spatiality in literature.

Recent research projects: 

Science and Technology in Recent and Contemporary French Philosophy

Published works: 


Pierre Klossowski: The Persistence of a Name (Oxford: Legenda, 2000)

The Fragmentary Demand: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006)

Paul Virilio (London: Routledge, 2007)

The New French Philosophy (Cambridge: Polity, 2012)

Edited Volumes:

Thought’s Exposure: Critical Essays on Jean-Luc Nancy, with Patrick ffrench, Oxford Literary Review, Volume 27, 2005

Whispers of the Flesh: Essays in Memory of Pierre Klossowski, with Russell Ford, Diacritics, Volume 35, No. 1, Spring 2005

Lucidity: Essays in Honour of Alison Finch, with Emma Wilson (Oxford: Legenda, 2016)