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Nathan Brown, PhD

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

Nathan Brown, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2368
Website(s): Centre for Expanded Poetics
Availability: Office, LB 674-06 (or LB 681, Centre for Expanded Poetics)

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 literature, philosophy, and the arts, with particular focus on comparative approaches to modernism and on 20th century American poetry. 

His 2021 book, 
Rationalist Empiricism: A Theory of Speculative Critique, was awarded Honorable Mention for the MLA's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies. The book 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, Brown 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 experimental poetry. Reviews have appeared in Boundary2 OnlineRadical Philosophy, and elsewhere. 

His most recent books are a critical study titled 
Baudelaire's Shadow: An Essay on Poetic Determination and a complete translation of the 1861 edition of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, which will be published in a new edition by Verso in 2024.

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.

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

Poetry and Poetics
Philosophy and Critical Theory
Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Arts

Teaching activities

Recent graduate courses

Early German Romanticism and the Genesis of Theory
The Poetics of the Untimely: From Negritude to the Haitian Revolution
21st Century Poetry and Poetics
Poetic Determination: Form and Mediation in Les Fleurs du mal
Aesthetic Theory: Romantic, Modernist, Contemporary
Modernist Architecture, Capitalist Planning, and Poetic Critique:
 Remaking Place Ville-Marie
Blackness, Freedom, Free Verse
Structure / Form
Expanded Poetics

Recent non-credit philosophy seminars

Heidegger, Being and Time
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
Lacan, Seminar - Book III
Social Death and Afro-Pessimism: Patterson, Hartman, Wilderson
Capital, Vol. 1



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

The Flowers of Evilcomplete translation of Les Fleurs du Mal (MaMa 2021)
   *forthcoming in a new edition from Verso, Fall 2024

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

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

"Alas, poor Yorick!...The Being of Spirit is a Bone," Problemi International 6 (2023): 51-73. PDF

"The Flowers of Andromache: Allegory, Ontology, and Tragedy in Baudelaire's 'Le Cygne'," Crisis & Critique 10.2 (2023): 56-80. PDF

"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. PDF

"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

"Absolute Alienation," e-flux Notes (Dec. 7, 2023). LINK

"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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