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Institute in Paris

Dr Eugene Brennan

Lecturer in International Politics

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MA Modern History (University College Dublin); PhD French Studies (University of London Institute in Paris) 

Summary of research interests and expertise 

  • Critical Theory
  • Theories and Politics of Crisis
  • Contemporary French and Francophone Thought
  • Cultural Studies
  • Postcolonial Theory

I specialise in the work of the 20th-century French theorist Georges Bataille. My PhD thesis examined the anglophone reception of his work and investigated how a number of cultural and intellectual scenes made adventurous use of his ideas, problematising his broader place within ‘French Theory’. Since completing my thesis, I have continued my research into the ways in which Bataille’s capacious thought and writings continue to animate and energise new currents in contemporary critical theory. This is the basis of a book project, provisionally titled Tragic Times: Georges Bataille and Contemporary Theory, and recent publications in the form of articles and book chapters can be found in Theory, Culture & Society (2018), Theory & Event (2021), Cahiers Bataille 4 (2019), and Georges Bataille and Contemporary Thought (Bloomsbury, 2017).

My research also addresses different currents in contemporary critical theory, specifically focusing on how the notion of crisis is generative for theorising the politics of the present. I convened the ULIP seminar series ‘Theory in Crisis’ and am guest-editor of a forthcoming special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, titled ‘Crisis Theory: The Politics of the Present’. This work illustrates how theories of crisis generate specific insights into the contradictory and ‘non-synchronous’ temporalities that constitute the present. It studies ‘recent’ crises in dialogue with ongoing racial and colonial histories. This builds upon my recent publications in Theory, Culture & Society, and Theory & Event.

I am also interested in how different forms of popular culture offer stimulating sites of possibility for working through difficult political and theoretical questions. I have written on French philosophy’s impact on popular-music journalism (Revue Palimpsestes, 2019), on Afrofuturist criticism (L’Atelier, 2019), and beyond academia I regularly write on culture and politics for the press, including review-articles and essays for the Irish Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Washington Post and Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry.


MA Modern History (University College Dublin); PhD French Studies (University of London Institute in Paris) 



Recent publications

  • ‘Necropolitics and Surplus Life: Mbembe and Beyond’, Theory, Culture & Society (forthcoming)’
  • ’Crisis As Method: Politics, Temporality and Agency’ in Cultural Politics 123.2 (2024)
  • ‘Crisis Calls for Opacity: Tiqqun, Logistical Capitalism and the Black Radical Tradition’, Theory & Event, 24.3 (2021), 675-701
  • ‘Mapping Logistical Capitalism’, Theory, Culture & Society 38.4 (2021), 135-146
  • ‘Hermeticism Contra Hermeneutics: Kodwo Eshun’s Afrofuturism and the Challenges of Black Abstraction’, L’Atelier 11.1 (2019), 52–66
  • ‘French Theory and British Popular Modernism: The Case of the New Musical Express’, Revue Palimpsestes 33 (2019), 199–213
  • ‘The Politics of Religious Fervour: New Considerations on Georges Bataille and Religion’, Theory, Culture & Society, 35.4-5 (2018), 217–231
  • ‘The Politics of Excess and Restraint: Reading Bataille Alongside and Against Accelerationism’ in Will Stronge (ed.), Georges Bataille and Contemporary Thought (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 217–238
  • ‘Dictionnaire critique de Georges Bataille : Musique’, Cahiers Bataille 4 (Éditions les Cahiers, 2019), 150–152
  • The International Black Panthers’, The Los Angeles Review of Books (September 2018)
  • A Hidden Landscape Once a Week: Between the Lines of UK Music Journalism’, The Irish Times, 23 March 2019
  • Futures of Life Death on Earth: Derrida’s General Ecology by Philippe Lynes (review)’, French Studies 74.4, 660 
  • Pourqoui la guerre aujoud’hui by Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard (review)’ 71.3 (2017), 449