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Performing Philosophy

Philosophy by Gustav Klimt (1907, destroyed). © Wikimedia Commons / Artist: Gustav Klimt
Saturday, April 21, 2018 -
9:30am to 6:00pm
New College, Oxford

The theme for the Symposium is Performing Philosophy. The keynote speaker is Stephen Mulhall, Professor of Philosophy at Oxford and Fellow and Tutor at New College. The title of Professor Mulhall’s paper will be ‘Heidegger’s Fountain: Ecstasis, Mimesis and Engrossment in The Origin of the Work of Art’.

Context and Objectives
German literature has a long reputation for being ‘philosophical’. In our seminars this academic year we have examined how the interaction between philosophy and literature opens up questions of what it means to be either kind of text. The notion of performing, rather than merely doing, philosophy speaks to the continental tradition of philosophy as an historical, embodied practice. At the same time, it can encourage consideration of aspects of philosophical texts which can be deemed ‘performative’ (style, genre and convention). These are areas where an interdisciplinary, even literary, approach to philosophy may open up a new space in examinations of philosophical texts.

Under the heading of ‘Performing Philosophy’ we aim also to examine philosophy’s usefulness for the study of literature and other performative arts. This might encompass discussion of how philosophy is performed or enacted in ‘non-philosophical’ texts. We wish as well to see how philosophy relates to dramatic performance: how it might be used to understand it, or how philosophical principles may be dramatically embodied in it.

The Oxford German Graduate Symposium is organised each Trinity Term by the conveners of the Oxford German Graduate Seminar. The Symposium offers the opportunity for graduate students and Faculty members to come together and share their research in a friendly, productive setting. We particularly encourage graduate students of all stages (Master’s and DPhil) to apply to present.

The deadline for abstracts of up to 250 words is Monday, March 19th. More details can be found in the Call for Papers, or by contacting the organisers at and

Open to all