Professor Michael Syrotinski
- Marshall Chair of French (French)
- 20th and 21st century French and Francophone Literature and Culture
- Comparative Literature
- Philosophy and Contemporary French Thought
- Literary Theory (particularly Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Postcolonialism)
- Translation and the 'Untranslatable'
- Attachment Theory
My research is wide-ranging and emphatically interdisciplinary and comparative in its approach, with influential publications in twentieth and twenty-first century French literature and culture, francophone African literature, philosophy and film, psychoanalysis, colonial and postcolonial writing, modern continental philosophy and critical theory, comparative literature, and translation studies. I have published with many of the leading academic presses and journals in the UK, France and North America, and much of my work has been recognized for its seminal influence across a number of fields: my study of the French writer, Jean Paulhan (SUNY Press, 1998) was the first major assessment of his work; the special issue of Paragraph I co-edited with Celia Britton on ‘Francophone Texts and Postcolonial Theory’ played a key role in opening up the field of Francophone Postcolonial Studies; my monograph Deconstruction and the Postcolonial: At the Limits of Theory (Liverpool and Chicago UP, 2007) was the first volume to launch a new interdisciplinary series ‘Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines’ at LUP; and my involvement as translator and editor of the English edition and translation of Barbara Cassin’s ground-breaking Dictionnaire européen des philosophies (Princeton UP, 2014, The Dictionary of Untranslatables) has meant my work is at the forefront of a major reassessment of the place of translation, and the translator, within European philosophy, and the humanities more broadly.
- Forham University Press (May 2017). $4000. Translation and edition of Barbara Cassin’s Google-Moi.
- Princeton University Press (May - Nov 2009): $20,000. Translation and consultancy fee for work as part of team producing English language edition of Cassin et al ed Vocabulaire européen des philosophies (Dictionary of Untranslatables).
- Carnegie Trust (May 2009). To organise international conference at University of Aberdeen on ‘Contemporary African Philosophy and Culture’
- AHRC Research Leave Award (January-June 2007). £11, 400. To finish manuscript of book project, Deconstruction and the Postcolonial University of Aberdeen.
- AHRC Research Leave Award (September 1999-January 2000). £14,200. To complete book project, Singular Performances: Reinscribing the Subject in Contemporary Francophone African Writing.
- University of Aberdeen University Research Committee Award. Research leave in second half-session 1996-97 to work on book on subjectivity in Francophone African Writing.
- Humanities Research Board of the British Academy (June 1995). Conference travel grant to attend Francophone conference in Charleston, SC.
- University of Aberdeen Faculty of Arts Research Committee (Summer 1994). Release time from teaching to write article on V.Y Mudimbe's theoretical and fictional writings.
- British Academy (August 1994). Archival research in Paris towards completion of book on Jean Paulhan's writings
- University of Aberdeen, Faculty of Arts Research Committee. Release time from teaching in 2nd semester 1994 to complete manuscript of book on Jean Paulhan
- Illinois State University (Summer 1992). $4500. Work on book on Jean Paulhan's writings
- Illinois State University (Summer 1991). $4200. Completion of article on Paulhan and Blanchot.
- Illinois State University (Summer 1990). $4000. Completion of article on ‘Jean Paulhan and the Post-War Literary Purge in France.’
I am currently working on a number of overlapping book projects.
1. A monograph entitled Performing Untranslatability, which will be on the one hand the first major study of the work of the French philosopher and editor of the Dictionary of Untranslatables, Barbara Cassin, and on the other will take the paradigm of the 'Untranslatable' as a theoretical frame of reference for readings of specific 'scenes' in a number of different European and non-European texts and contexts.
2. A monograph structured around the work of the African postcolonial theorist, Achille Mbembe, provisionally entitled Between Poetry and Ontology: Achille Mbembe, African Postcolonial Thought and Literature.
3. A monograph exploring the place that fiction occupies in attachment theory, provisionally entitled Literature and Attachment.
4. A translation and critical edition of Barbara Cassin's Jacques le Sophiste: Lacan, Logos, Psychanalyse (Paris: Epel, 2012), which is forthcoming from Fordham University Press.
Past PhD topics supervised to completion.
- Post-Independence African Novel in French
- Francophone Caribbean Poetry/French Surrealism)
- Novels of Sony Labou Tansi
- Publishing and Cultural Identity in Senegal and Guinea
- Marcel Proust between19th and 20th century European philosophy
- Representing a Nation: Literature and Film in Contemporary Cameroon
- Subjectivity and Space in the Novels of Calixthe Beyala and Maryse Conde
- The Concept of Laughter in Contemporary Literature and Philosophy
- The novels of Maissa Bey and Assia Djebar
- Mary Braddon and Gustave Flaubert: Evolution and Catastrophism
- The Limits of Human Freedom in Sartre, Antelme and Levi
- Image and Resemblance in the Poetry of Edmond Jabès
- Decolonial Epistemology in Sylvia Winter and Edourd Glissant
- Regular reviewer for, and contributor to, major international journals including Yale French Studies, French Studies, Modern Language Notes, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Oxford Literary Review, Paragraph, The Senses and Society, Research in African Literatures, H-France, etc.
- Regular reader for major international academic publishers (Legenda, Routledge, Virginia UP, Cambridge UP, Yale University Press, Fordham UP, Polity Press, Continuum, Oxford UP, Illinois UP, Liverpool UP, Stanford University Press).
- Elected member, Executive Committee of Society for French Studies, 2008-2011. Re-elected for second term, 2011-2014. Coordinator of R.H. Gapper Undergraduate Essay Prize 2008-2011.
- Editor of Paragraph (Member of editorial board, 2010-present).
- Editorial Board, Journal of Francophone Postcolonial Studies (2005-2010)
- Advisory Board, The Senses and Society (2007-present)
- Panel member and peer-reviewer for AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) since 2005 . Appointed for second term on Peer Review College, June 2008, and served on several panels for Research Leave and Fellowship Awards.
- Awards assessor for Carnegie Trust (2014-present)
- External Examiner, French Department, Nottingham University (2002-05).
- External Examiner, French Department, Stirling University (2006-2009)
- External Examiner, MA French, King’s College London (2013-2016)