Research Interests

“Hi-ho and domo origato, Mr Roboto”

My research interests are always evolving and cross-pollinating each other in ways that often surprise me. However, for the reasons I discuss here, research interests with little concern for teaching and communication are a waste of everyone’s time.

A lot of my published work to date has dealt with the crossovers of literary and theoretical texts. My earliest research interests were the crossovers of modernism–especially the works of James Joyce–and continental philosophy–in particular the work of Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Giambattista Vico and Immanuel Kant. I have also extended those literary-theoretical interests into cinema through my work on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which I explored in conjunction with the work of Jacques Lacan and René Girard. Since then, my research interests in the Troubles has evolved in the direction of state collusion in political violence during the Troubles.

My most recent research interests are reflected in my latest book, Posthumanism: A Guide for the Perplexed (see also my blogpost on the book here), where I explore topics on technoscientific advances–for example, cybernetics, artificial intelligence and gene editing–and how they re-draw the distinctions between humans, animals and machines, resulting in posthumanism and transhumanism. These interests are thus also concerned with the possibilities for crossover between the humanities and the sciences.

These interests also inform the exciting writing and research projects I currently have on the go: a book project on reason, unreason and the degradation of critical thinking in the humanities; a digital humanities research project research project on digital reading, which is part of a larger project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and a book project on posthumanism in James Joyce and Jacques Derrida.

Additionally, my growing unease with how things are being done in literature and humanities departments has led to my recent preference for publishing with trade-academic publishers: such publishers have a process of rigorous peer-review as well as a global reach; they also demand that what one writes about be generally accessible, no matter how complex. I like this because I think it is important that whatever research one conducts should be communicated to an audience beyond the humanities academic community, a community that appears to me to be growing more insular and out of touch by the day.