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Translation and the Archive in the Continental Tradition

Translation and the Archive in the Continental Tradition

A workshop hosted by the RHUL Centre for Continental Philosophy

We have put together this workshop to explore those aspects of the project of philosophy that are often seen as simply the groundwork or condition for the philosophical project itself, namely those processes of translating, editing, compiling, and those of the archive, both its constitution and consultation. This workshop will explore themes of the nature and operation of these processes in the continental tradition, both in terms of how they constitute the territory of philosophical thought, but also the ways in which the specificity of continental philosophy affects the process of translation, and how these projects of translation have affected the philosophical work of the translators themselves. 

The workshop brings together a number of internationally recognised researchers to discuss the role of these themes in their own work, both as translators and editors, and as thinkers. 

The workshop will take place in Stewart House RM 2/3, Senate House, Central London, on May 19th, 2023. 

Organised by Dr Henry Somers-Hall (RHUL) and Dr Danielle Sands (RHUL) and supported by the Centre for Continental Philosophy.




10am-11.10am Dr. Julia Ng (Goldsmiths): “The ultimate undecidability of all legal problems”: Translating Benjamin’s philosophy of law

11.20am-12.30pm Prof. Daniel Smith (Purdue) and Prof. Charles J. Stivale (Wayne State - attending via zoom): "Texts, Lines and Videotapes: Constructing the Deleuze Seminars"

12.30pm-1.30pm Lunch

1.30-2.40pm Prof. Stuart Elden (Warwick): “From the Archive to the Edited Translation: Lefebvre, Foucault, Dumézil”

2.50-4pm Prof. Alan D. Schrift (Grinnell): “The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche: An Editor’s Tale”

4.15-5pm Roundtable discussion


To register for the conference, please use the following link: 


Prof. Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick. His most recent books are The Early Foucault (2021), and The Archaeology of Foucault (2023), which examine Foucault's largely unknown work of the 1950s, leading up to his first major book History of Madness in 1961, and then his work of the 1960s. The research has been conducted with archives in Paris, Normandy, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and the United States, and is funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. These two books continue the work of his earlier books Foucault’s Last Decade (2016) and Foucault: The Birth of Power (2017). His next major project will be a study of Indo-European thought in twentieth-century France, looking at both French and émigré scholars, with a particular focus on Emile Benveniste, Georges Dumézil, Mircea Eliade and Julia Kristeva.


Dr. Julia Ng  is Reader in Critical Theory at Goldsmiths and founding Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought. She specialises in the links between modern mathematics, political thought, and theories of history and language in the 20th century, particularly in the work of Walter Benjamin. She is the co-editor (with Peter Fenves) of the critical edition of Walter Benjamin's “Toward the Critique of Violence” and associated fragments (2021), which contains her new translation of the essay, as well as an edition of Werner Hamacher’s writings on Friedrich Hölderlin (2020), both published with Stanford University Press. With support from the British Academy, she is currently completing a book entitled Daoism and Capitalism, which explores early Critical Theory's conceptual debts to the Daoist thought that was translated into the German and German-Jewish philosophy, poetry, art theory, and musicology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Prof. Alan D. Schrift is F. Wendell Miller Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Grinnell College. His scholarship focuses on 19th- and 20th-century French and German philosophy. In addition to over 80 published articles or book chapters on Nietzsche and 20th-century European philosophy, he is the author of Twentieth-Century French Philosophy: Key Themes and Thinkers (Blackwell 2006; Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title), Nietzsche’s French Legacy: A Genealogy of Poststructuralism (Routledge 1995), and Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation: Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction (Routledge 1990). Most recently, he co-edited Transcendence and the Concrete: Selected Writings of Jean Wahl (Fordham 2016). He was General Editor of the eight-volume History of Continental Philosophy (Acumen Publishing/University of Chicago Press/Routledge 2010), and is General Editor of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, the Stanford University Press 19-volume translation of Nietzsche’s Kritische Studienausgabe.


Prof. Daniel Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University. He is the author of Essays on Deleuze (Edinburgh 2012), the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Deleuze (2012, with Henry Somers Hall), and has translated, from the French, books by Gilles Deleuze, Pierre Klossowski, Isabelle Stengers, and Michel Serres. He is the co-director of “The Deleuze Seminars” project (, which is translating Deleuze’s seminar lectures and is supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities. He is currently working on a book entitled Technicity and Thought.


Prof. Charles J. Stivale is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of French at Wayne State University. His research interests include 19th-century French novels, contemporary critical theory and cultural studies, and writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and he has has authored six books in nineteenth and twentieth-century French and Francophone studies, has edited or co-edited three volumes of studies and six journal issues, has prepared translations of two major works, a half-dozen article, and the eight hour video interview with Gilles Deleuze, published (by MIT Press/Zone) as Gilles Deleuze, From A to Z (2012). He is currently co-director, with Prof. Daniel W. Smith, of the Purdue University "Deleuze Seminars" project, developing transcriptions and translations of Deleuze's university seminars.

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