Dr Paul J Earlie

DPHIL (Oxon.), MPHIL (Cantab.), BA (Dub.)

  • BS8 1TE

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Personal profile

Research interests

My principal area of research is modern and contemporary French thought, with a focus on the relationship between intermediality and thought and on rhetoric as a theory and practice of communication. At Bristol, I run a new interdisciplinary research cluster, Research in Rhetoric, which brings together colleagues from across the Faculty of Arts and the wider region to study rhetoric in all its forms. I also have teaching and research interests in francophone Belgian culture. 

I was an undergraduate in English Literature and French at Trinity College, Dublin, before completing my DPhil in French at the University of Oxford, on the role of psychoanalysis in the work of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. While at Oxford, I spent two years as a Laming Junior Fellow and was also a pensionnaire étranger at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. More recently, I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Belgium at the Université libre de Bruxelles, which sparked my current interest in classical rhetoric and its modern reverberations.

Research-wise, I have recently completed a book-length study of Derrida's career-long engagement with Freud, forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Derrida and the Legacy of Psychoanalysis uses the problematic proximity between deconstruction and psychoanalysis as a way of thinking through a number of issues in the humanities today, from affect theory to neuropsychoanalysis to the relatively recent turn towards the digital humanities. I'm currently working on two projects. The first is a book, The Rhetoric of Theory, exploring the ambivalent reception and afterlife of classical rhetoric in French thought from Roland Barthes to Barbara Cassin. The second is a larger project, Intellectuals and the Popular Media inFrance, which takes a comparative media approach to understanding how public intellectuals in France have engaged in creative and complex ways with the mass media; in doing so, I want to challenge the view that the latter are intrinsically anti-intellectual modes that threaten democracy and culture.   

Since 2019, I have been Deputy Editor at the Revue internationale de philosophie, where I recently edited a special issue looking at fresh approaches—neuropsychoanalysis, ecocriticism, speculative formalism—to the perennially thorny relationship between psychoanalysis and literature.



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