I'm interested in how our material and inner lives are formed, transformed, and performed by the sea as both something and a thing of nothing. How does the mirror of the sea reflect, deflect, and act on us, the world, even philosophy? Working as an Onassis Fellow, I have been encountering problematics such as processes of de-territorialization and the problem of nihilism, the nature of the political and its encounter with the maritime, modes and limits of mimesis, metamorphoses of genres, and interpretive possibilities to historicity, as well as rituals of sacrifice and liminality.
With the generous support of the Onassis Foundation, I'm currently finishing my dissertation, The Sea and the Mirror: Essayings in De-territorialization and Mimesis. It traces the pressing and repressed material and symbolic presence of the ocean (the Mediterranean and the Atlantic) from Plato to Heidegger, employing the maritime as a hermeneutic lens through which to understand the drive of philosophy as both response to and moment within the impetus of Western colonization. It examines how philosophy has again and again constructed itself as a genre in opposition to the movement of de-territorialization and the fluidity of mimesis. It does so via the method (meta, “after” + hodos, “way, journey”) of a series of essayings (in the original sense of trial, measure, attempt) across a geopolitical topography of discourses. These include philosophical texts drawn from a constellation of historical topoi at the critical moments of their encounter with the maritime: fifth-century Athens (Plato/Euripides), late republican and early imperial Rome (Augustus/Plautus), Elizabethan England (Shakespeare), Enlightenment continental Europe (Kant/Rousseau) and inter-war Germany of the 20th century (Husserl/Heidegger). In my next project, I will deepen my dissertation research by considering the role of error and the place of the errant in philosophy and how the maritime has been utilized as a site of errancy, sin, and failed expiation (hamartia and katharsis in the Greek context).
As an Onassis Fellow, I have run the discussion seminar to Simon Critchley's lecture course Tragedy's Philosophy.