Research Student Seminar: Prof. Howard Caygill


The next of this year’s series of six HCA research student seminars will take place on Monday 14 March, 6pm-8pm (Dreyfus Room, 26 Russell Square).

All welcome.

The seminar will be followed by dinner at Olivelli’s in Store Street. If you would like to go along, please email Guy Beckett, Co-convener of the seminars:


Howard Caygill, Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University

‘Kafka and the quarry disaster of April 1st 1911’

 Howard Caygill’s Kafka: In the Light of the Accident (Forthcoming: 2017) provides a radical new way of reading Kafka. Caygill advances a unique philosophical interpretation via the pivotal theme of the accident, understood both philosophically and in a broader cultural context, that includes the philosophical and sociological basis of accident insurance and the understanding of the concepts of chance and necessity. Caygill reveals how Kafka’s reception was governed by a series of accidents – from the order of Max Brod’s posthumous publication of the novels and the correction of ‘misprints’, to many other posthumous editorial strategies. The focus on the accident casts light on the role of media in Kafka’s work, particularly visual media and above all photography. By stressing the role of contingency in his authorship, Caygill also fundamentally questions the 20th century view of Kafka’s work as ‘kafkaesque’. Instead of a narration of domination, Kafka: In the Light of the Accident argues that Kafka’s work is best read as a narration of defiance, one which affirms (often comically) the role of error and contingency in historical struggle. Kafka’s defiance is situated within early 20th century radical culture, with particular emphasis lent to the roles of radical Judaism, the European socialist and feminist movements, and the subaltern histories of the United States and China.

For more about Howard Caygill: Howard Caygill, academic profile, Kingston University

To see the full research student seminar series this year: HCA Student Research Seminar Programme 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: