Professor Dimitris Vardoulakis

DimitrisProfessor Dimitris Vardoulakis works on political, social and cultural philosophy.

His is primarily interested in how materialist philosophy conceives democracy and sovereignty, with a particular focus on conceptions of technology.

What binds these diverse fields is the attempt to reassess epicureanism, an undervalued and under-researched school of thought from antiquity whose modern proponents, such as Spinoza, faced persecution.

Dimitris is currently serving as the Chair of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy, and is a member of Western Sydney University’s Human Research Ethics Committee.


  • PhD (2006). Monash University.
  • MPhil (2002). Monash University.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Philosophy with Research Thesis component (2000). Monash University.
  • Master of the Arts (1999). The University of Glasgow.


  • Regular Visiting Professorship at Panteion University (Athens), 2012-ongoing
  • Regulated Visiting Professorship at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University (NYC), 2014-2018
  • Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award in Leadership (2015), Western Sydney University.
  • Visiting scholar at The Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University, Montreal, November 2009.
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2007), undertaken at the Peter Szondi-Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft, Freie Universität, Berlin, at the invitation of Professor Winfried Menninghaus.
  • Scottish Arts Council Bursary (2000), for the translation into Greek of Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things.


Associate Professor Vardoulakis accepted over 100 invited speaking engagements. These invitations comes from different countries (such as the US, the UK, Germany, and China), and from prestigious institutions (such as Ivy League universities in the US such as Brown, Cornell and Columbia, or historical universities such as UC Berkeley; elite Universities in Europe such as Frankfurt University, Vienna University, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Piza, and the University of Moscow; and elite Universities in China such as Fudan and Wuhan Universities).

Here is a selected list of 20 indicative invitations:

  • “On the Sources of Spinoza’s Account of Social Formation” (2021), plenary talk at Spinoza’s Theological Political Treatise: Politics, Power and the Imagination, Open University, London, March 29-31,
  • “Spinoza’s Law: The Epicurean Definition of the Law in the Theological Political Treatise” (2019) invited talk at Law and Contemporary Theory, Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley, November 11.
  • “Phronesis and the Forgetting of the Instrumental” (2019), invited at the Philosophy Department, SUNY at Stony Book, November 6.
  • “Towards a Conception of Materialist Politics” (2019), invited talk at the philosophy department, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, October 22.
  • “Spinoza and the Materialist Tradition” (2019), invited talk at the Philosophy Department, Fudan University, Shanghai, September 20.
  • “Phronesis and Materialism: Practical Judgment and Agonism” (2019), invited talk, University of Vienna, Prof Oliver Merchant Seminar, June 5.
  • “A Genealogy of Materialism and the State” (2019), address in the plenary panel “The State that Doesn’t Want to Wither Away” as part of the conference The Future with Marx, Moscow, May 24-25,
  • “Authority and Utility in Spinoza: From Epicureanism to Neoliberalism?” (2018), invited talk at the Department of Comparative Literature, Brown University, November 1
  • “Authority and Utility in Spinoza: From Epicureanism to Neoliberalism?” (2018), invited talk at the Philosophy Department, New School of Social Research (New York City), October 25.
  • “Authority and Utility in Spinoza: From Epicureanism to Neoliberalism?” (2018), Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, invited talk, October 22
  • “Authority and Utility in Spinoza: From Epicureanism to Neoliberalism?” (2018), Invited talk at the Department of Philosophy, Shandong University (China), September 24.
  • “The Neighbor: Biblical Hermeneutics and Authority in Spinoza’s Theological Political Treatise” (2017), Philosophy department talk, John Hopkins University, October 31.
  • “The Figure of Moses: Spinoza’s Political Theology and the Baroque” (2017), invited lectures for the series of lectures on Early Modern Political Thought, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, October 23.
  • Before the demos come kratos. Agonistic democracy and stasis” (2017), invited address at the conference Il momento populista: politica popolare e politica plebea, Scuola Normale Superiore, Piza, June 12-13.
  • “Between Authoritarianism and Radical Democracy: Natural Right and Power” (2016), Invited talk at the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, November 17.
  • “Divided Sovereignty? Conflict and Democracy” (2016), keynote address at the Divided Authorities and Dispossessed Peoples conference, Humanities Research Centre, ANU, Canberra, July 20-22.
  • “Spinoza and Arendt on Authority, the Law and Democracy” (2016), Leipzig University, invited talk at the Kolloquium zur Politischen Theorie,June 14.
  • “What Comes Before the Citizen?” (2015), plenary talk at Thinking Universalities conference, DePaul University, Chicago, October 23-24.
  • “Equality as Agon: Thinking Egalitarianism through Stasis” (2014), invited talk, European University of St Petersburg, June 2.
  • “The Refugee and Democracy” (2013), research seminar of the Political Theory department, New School of Social Research, New York, November 7.

Selected Book Publications

  • The Doppelgänger: Literature’s Philosophy (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010).
  • Sovereignty and its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013).
  • Freedom from the Free Will: On Kafka’s Laughter (Albany, NY: SUNY, 2016).
  • Stasis Before the State: Nine Thesis on Agonistic Democracy (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018).
  • Spinoza, the Epicurean: Authority and Utility in Materialism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020)
  • The Ruse of Techne: Heidegger’s Magical Materialism (forthcoming)

Selected Non-refereed Publications

Contact: Dimitris Vardoulakis