Dr Alastair Hemmens
Leverhulme Research fellow
My research focuses on the intellectual history of radical theory in modern French society. I have written extensively on the Situationist International and I am more widely interested in the long history of struggles against and experience of capitalist modernity in France and Belgium. My own critical perspective is greatly informed by the critique of value school developed in Germany by the Krisis group around figures such as Robert Kurz and Roswitha Shulz and, more recently, in France by Anselm Jappe.
In 2014 I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in order to conduct research on a project entitled: “Ne Travaillez jamais: The Critique of Work in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century French Thought, from Charles Fourier to Guy Debord.” The project aims to provide a hidden history of French thinkers who have sought to free human beings from work through the radical transformation of society.
I did my BA in English at University College London. I then moved to Paris where I did an MA in Paris Studies at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). I continued my postgraduate studies at ULIP where I undertook a PhD in French and Comparative Studies with a thesis on the life and work of the Belgian Situationist Raoul Vaneigem. In 2013 I worked for The American University of Washington and Accent International in Paris as a lecturer of Paris: Civilization and Culture. In 2014 I was awarded a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Cardiff University.
Honours and awards
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, 3 Years
I teach modules on translation, modern France and May ’68. I also supervise fourth-year dissertations. Previous to Cardiff, I taught a course on the history and culture of Paris for the American University Washington that included on-site lectures in historically significant sites in the city. My approach to teaching is grounded in my own experiences and passion as a researcher, a translator and a student of modern languages.