Sunday, 7 November 2010
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Interested parties might be interested to know that from January, I will be taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at Center de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée, Paris. I’ll be working with Dorothee Legrand on a project titled “Narcissus & Echo: self-consciousness and the inter-subjective body”. My contribution to this work will be to investigate the phenomenology of anxiety and agoraphobia, focusing on what these experiences disclose about embodiment, selfhood, uncanniness and intersubjectivity. These are themes I’ve been circling for the last few years, albeit in a fragmented way, and it will be gratifying to think through them in a more systematic way. Incidentally, it always seemed to me that, despite being born in Germany, agoraphobia's spiritual home was in Paris in the anxiety of Baudelaire (“Paris may change, but in my melancholy mood nothing has budged”) and the labyrinthine arcades of Benjamin (“Street names are like intoxicating substances that make our perceptions more stratified and richer in spaces. One could call the energy by which they transport us into such a state their vertu évocatrice”). Not to mention the uncanniness of André Breton's Paris, the oneirism of Gérard de Nerval's Paris, and above all else, the "superimposed boxes" of Bachelard's claustrophobic Paris. The list could go. But in short: having the chance to work on the phenomenology of agoraphobia with this history in the background will be invaluable.