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Nathan Brown, PhD

Professor, English
Canada Research Chair in Poetics, English
Director, Centre for Expanded Poetics, English

Nathan Brown, PhD

Nathan Brown received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 2008 before beginning his career at UC Davis as Assistant Professor of English. He joined Concordia in 2014 as Canada Research Chair in Poetics, and founded the Centre for Expanded Poetics in 2015. Professor Brown's research moves between philosophy, poetics, and the arts, investigating relationships between concepts and forms. 

His most recent books are a critical study titled Baudelaire's Shadow: An Essay on Poetic Determination and a complete translation of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal

Professor Brown's current project, supported by a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant, is a study of interdisciplinary orientations toward poetics in modernity titled Expanded Poetics: Romantic, Modernist, Contemporary. Setting out from the Jena Romantics' approach to poetics as a field encompassing science, philosophy, and the arts, the project traces this expanded approach to poetic theory and practice through modernist and contemporary transformations.

His 2021 book, 
Rationalist Empiricism: A Theory of Speculative Critique, argues that the misleading opposition of speculative and critical approaches to philosophy can be overcome by rethinking the methodological relationship between rationalism and empiricism. Tracing a dialectic of reason and experience through ancient, modern, and contemporary thought, the book engages with such thinkers as Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, Badiou, and Meillassoux, as well as recent work in the science of metrology and experimental digital photography. 

His 2017 book, The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science and Materialist Poetics, studies concepts and ideologies of structure and form traversing practices of material construction in science and poetry. Reviews have appeared in Boundary2 Online, Radical Philosophy, and elsewhere.

With Michael Nardone, Professor Brown edits the publishing imprint of the Centre for Expanded Poetics, DOCUMENTS. With Petar Milat, he has organized an ongoing series of symposia in Croatia since 2009, titled Conjuncture: 21st Century Philosophy, Politics, and Aesthetics. These events have resulted in two edited volumes, The Art of the Concept (2013) and Poiesis (2017).


PhD, University of California at Los Angeles (2008)
MA, Queen's University (2002)
BAH, Queen's University (2001)

Fields of research and teaching

Theory and Philosophy
Poetry and Poetics
Media/Technology Studies
Marxism and Political Theory

Teaching activities

Recent graduate courses

The Poetics of the Untimely: From Negritude to the Haitian Revolution (2023)
21st Century Poetry and Poetics (2021/2022)
Poetic Determination: Form and Mediation in Les Fleurs du Mal (2020/2021)
Aesthetic Theory: Romantic, Modernist, Contemporary (2019/2012)
Modernist Architecture, Capitalist Planning, and Poetic Critique:
 Remaking Place Ville-Marie (2017/2018)
Blackness, Freedom, Free Verse (2016/2017)
Structure / Form (2015/2016)
Expanded Poetics (2014/2015)

Recent non-credit philosophy seminars

Heidegger, Being and Time (2022/2023)
Phenomenology of Spirit (2020/2021)
Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (2019/2020)
Lacan, Seminar - Book III (2017/2018)
Social Death and Afro-Pessimism: Patterson, Hartman, Wilderson (2015/2016)
Marx, Capital, Vol. 1 (2015/2016)



Baudelaire's Shadow: An Essay on Poetic Determination (MaMa, 2021)

The Flowers of Evilcomplete translation of Les Fleurs du Mal (MaMa 2021)

Rationalist Empiricism: A Theory of Speculative Critique (Fordham University Press, 2021)
   *Book launch
   *Symposium (Session 1, Session 2) Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard 
   *Syndicate Symposium

The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science, Materialist Poetics (Fordham University Press, 2017). 
   *Review Boundary2 Online
   *Review Radical Philosophy
   *Review Affirmations: Of the Modern
   *Review ASAP Journal
Review American Literary History 
Review British Society for Literature and Science

Poiesis, Ed. Nathan Brown and Petar Milat (MaMa, 2017) PDF Link

January (Berlin: Broken Dimanche Press, 2016). 
Review by Tom Lordon.

Edited Special Issues and Forums

Forum on Audrey Wasser's The Work of Difference, Ed. Nathan Brown, Syndicate (May 2018). Link

Expanded Poetics, Ed. Nathan Brown, Special Feature in The Volta (March 2016). Link

The Art of the Concept, Ed. Nathan Brown and Petar Milat, Special Issue of Frakcija: Performing Arts Journal 64-65 (2013). PDF

Articles and Book Chapters

"Alas, poor Yorick!...The being of spirit is a bone," forthcoming in Problemi.

"The Existence of the Speculative: Hegel's Theory of the Soul," forthcoming in boundary2. 

"Césaire's Claim: On the Retroactive Genesis of Free Verse," Crisis & Critique 9.2 (2022): 112-136. PDF

"Baudelaire's Shadow: On Poetic Determination" in Pierre Macherey and the Case of Literary Production, ed. Audrey Wasser and Warren Montag (Northwestern UP, 2022). LINK

"Reviving the Nameless," review essay on Jed Rasula's History of a Shiver and Acrobatic Modernism, Boundary2 Online (August 2021). LINK

"The Revival of Hegelian Marxism: On Martin Hägglund's This Life," Radical Philosophy 2.06 (Winter 2019): 34-43. PDF LINK

"The Distribution of the Insensible," In the Mind But Not From There, ed. Gean Moreno (Verso, 2019). LINK
   *originally published in Mute (Winter 2014). LINK

"Postmodernity, Not Yet: Toward a New Periodization," 
Radical Philosophy 2.01 (February 2018): 11-27. PDF Link

"Hegel's Kilogram: On the Measure of Metrical Units," Azimuth 10, Special Issue on The Technophysics of Space (2017): 59-75. PDF

"More Beautiful, More Intense? H.D.'s Poetics of Comparison" in Poiesis, Ed. Nathan Brown and Petar Milat (MaMa, 2017). PDF

"The Logic of Disintegration: On the Art Practice of Alexi Kukuljevic," Boundary2 Online (Jan. 2017). LINK

"Avoiding Communism: A Critique of Inventing the Future, Parrhesia 20 (2016): 155-171. PDF

"The Irony of Anatomy: Basquiat's Poetics of Black Positionality," Radical Philosophy 195 (Jan/Feb 2016): 11-24.

"Hegel's Cogito: On the Genetic Epistemology of Critical Metaphysics," Parrhesia 20 (2014): 49-61. PDF

"The Technics of Prehension: On the Photography of Nicolas Baier" in The Lure of Whitehead, Ed. Nicholas Gaskill and Adam Nocek (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). PDF

"Framing Modernity: Sam Lewitt's Aesthetics of Saturation" in Fluid Employment, Ed. Sam Lewitt (Sequence Press, 2013). PDF

"The Proletariat," Transcripts 3 (2013). PDF

"Origin and Extinction, Mourning and Melancholia: On Terrance Malick's The Tree of Life and Lars von Trier's Melancholia," Mute (Fall 2012). PDF  LINK

"Rational Kernel, Real Movement: Alain Badiou and Théorie Communiste in the Age of Riots," Lana Turner 5 (Fall 2012). LINK

"Red Years: Althusser's Lesson, Rancière's Error, and the Real Movement of History," Radical Philosophy 170 (Nov/Dec 2011). PDF

"Absent Blue Wax (Rationalist Empiricism)," Qui Parle 19.1 (Fall/Winter 2010). PDF

"The Speculative and the Specific: On Hallward and Meillassoux" in The Speculative Turn, Ed. Levi Bryant, Graham Harman, Nick Srnicek (re:press, 2010). PDF

"Objects that Matter: Olson, Bergvall, and the Poetics of Articulation," How2 3.3. (Winter 2010). PDF  LINK

"Immortality by Design," Parallax 14.3 (August 2008), 4-20. PDF

"The Inorganic Open: Nanotechnology and Physical Being," Radical Philosophy 144 (July/Aug 2007). PDF

Reviews, Responses, Interviews, Translations

"In Memory of Photography: Nicolas Baier's Asterisms" in Nicolas Baier, Edited by Dominique Myrand and Dominique Toutant (Division Gallery, 2017), pp. 96-100. LINK

"The Factial," Translation of excerpt from Quentin Meillassoux's doctoral dissertation, L'Inexistence Divine, Parrhesia 20 (2016): 20-40. PDF

"Speculation at the Crossroads," Review of Tristan Garcia's Form and Object in Radical Philosophy 188 (Nov/Dec 2014): 47-50. PDF

"The Nadir of OOO: From Graham Harman's Tool-Being to Timothy Morton's Realist Magic," Parrhesia 17 (2013). PDF

"Next to Now," Review of Colin Milburn's Nanovision in Radical Philosophy 155 (May/June 2009). PDF

"To Live Without an Idea," Review of Martin Hägglund's Radial Atheism in Radical Philosophy (Mar/Apr 2009). PDF 

"The Function of Digital Poetry at the Present Time," Response to N. Katherine Hayles in Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary (2008). LINK

"The Politics of Error: An Interview with Shanxing Wang," Jacket 34 (Oct 2007). LINK

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