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Dr Caroline Williams, BA (Manchester) PhD (Wales)


Tel: 020 7882 5834
Location: Arts One 2.23


Caroline Williams

Office Hours:

Friday 12-1pm


Undergraduate teaching:


Research interests:

My main research lies in the field of continental political philosophy with a particular interest in conceptions of selfhood and subjectivity. I also have a research specialism in Spinoza and philosophies that utilise and develop his thought, as well as Althusserian and post-Althusserian political theory.

My first book Contemporary French Philosophy: Modernity and the Persistence of the Subject (Continuum, 2001) interrogated some of the most influential positions in contemporary critical thought (from Althusser to Derrida) on the position of the subject in order to contest the view of critics who argue for the disappearance or ‘death' of the subject. My broader aim was to situate contemporary discussions within a broader series of problems finding their origins within modern and early modern philosophy, particularly Spinoza and Nietzche .

My current research extends this project and focuses on the precise contribution of Spinoza to contemporary philosophy and political theory.  It examines the intersection of his politics and his philosophy, specifically the Ethics, and utilises this to reconfigure questions of the subject, imagination, power and freedom. I am currently preparing a monograph on this topic: Spinoza and Political Critique.

Click here for podcast on my recent research from the ‘Spinoza and Bodies’ Conference.

I welcome PhD proposals within my broad research areas.

I have supervised a range of PhD topics including: Sexual Difference in Italian Feminism; An Anatomy of Dialectical Critique: Critical Theory and Poststructuralism; Relationality, Polemics and Incommensurability: Thinking the Political in Derrida and Foucault; Ontology and Politics in Spinoza; Justice and the Expansion of Ethical Obligation in Rorty and Derrida.



Contemporary French Philosophy: Modernity and the Persistence of the Subject, London, Athlone, 2001

Journal articles

‘Affective Processes without a Subject: Rethinking the Relation between Subjectivity and Affect with Spinoza’ Subjectivity Vol 3 no3, 2010, p.245-262

‘Thinking the Political in the Wake of Spinoza: Power, Affect and Imagination in the Ethics ' Contemporary Political Theory , 6, 2007 pp.349-369

'Reading Spinoza Today', Contemporary Political Theory , 1/3, 2002, pp.371-388

Book chapters

‘”Subjectivity without the Subject”: ‘Thinking beyond the subject with/through Spinoza’ in Beth Lord ed Spinoza Beyond Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2012) 

‘Structure and Subject’ in Iain MacKenzie and Robert Porter eds The Edinburgh Companion to Poststructuralism (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2012)

‘Althusser’s Spinozism’ in ‘Althusser and Spinoza’ in Sara Farris and Peter Thomas eds. Encountering Althusser (Continuum Press, forthcoming 2012)

‘Castoriadis: Thinker of the World’ in Jon Simons ed. Contemporary Critical Theorists from Agamben to Zizek (Edinburgh University Press 2010)

‘Politics and Ethics in Contemporary Continental Philosophy’ in Beth Lord and John Mullarkey eds. Continuum Companion to Continental Philosophy (Continuum 2009).

‘Castoriadis: Imagination, Critique, Politics’ in Jon Simons ed. Contemporary Critical Theorists from Agamben to Zizek (Edinburgh University Press 2009)

'Spinoza: Politics, Power and the Multitude' in T. Carver and J. Martin (eds), The Palgrave Guide to Continental Political Philosophy , Basingstoke , Palgrave, 2006, pp.17-31

'The Subject and Subjectivity' in A.Finlayson and J.Valentine (eds), Introducing Post-Structuralism to Political Studies , Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2002, pp.23-35

'Ideology and Imaginary: Returning to Althusser' in I.MacKenzie (ed.), Ideology After Post-Structuralism,London , Pluto Press, 2002, pp.28-42.


Caroline Williams and David McInerney ‘Althusser and the Persistence of the Subject' (interview) Borderlands Vol 4, No 2, 2005

Essays on ‘Castoriadis', ‘Althusser' and ‘Self/Subject' in C. Murray (ed.), The Companion to Twentieth Century French Thought,Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004

‘Jacques Lacan - Structuralist Psychoanalysis' in The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia of Continental Philosophy ed. Simon Glendinning (Edinburgh University Press, 2000) pp.548-557

Recent Conference Papers

Invited speaker: ‘The subject: Between Hegel and Spinoza’ International Symposium, McGill University, Montreal, April 2010

‘Affective Processes without a Subject: Rethinking Spinoza’s Bodypolitic’ BISA, Leicester, December 2009.

Invited speaker: ‘Althusser and Spinoza’ at ‘Encountering Althusser’ Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht (October 2009)

Invited speaker: ‘Thinking Beyond the Subject with/through Spinoza’ presented at the first Spinoza Network Conference ‘Spinoza and Bodies’ Department of Philosophy, University of Dundee, September 2009. Click here for podcast

Invited speaker: ‘Another Politics, Another Subject’ Research Colloquium, University of Aberystwyth 20-22nd April 2009

Geographies of Consciousness: Thinking the Subject after Spinoza. 9th Essex Conference in Critical Political Theory, June, 2008.

Passion, Affect and Imagination in Spinoza’s Ethics: Spinoza’s contribution to a psychoanalytic politics. PSA Annual Conference, April, 2008

‘Althusser, Spinoza and Contemporary Marxism' ECPR, Budapest , 2005

‘Passional Politics: Imagination and Imaginaries from Spinoza to Castoriadis' Columbia , South Carolina February, 2003

Invited speaker: ‘After Spinoza: Judaism, Modernity and the Future of the Multitude', UCLA, Centre for Jewish Studies, February, 2003

PhD Supervision

Public engagement

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