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Benjamin Dalton

Mr Benjamin Dalton

Research Student

Project: Plasticity in Contemporary French Thought, Literature and Film: Witnessing Transformations with and beyond Malabou

Start date at Kings: 1/10/2015


Research interests

My interests lie in contemporary French thought and culture, particularly intersections between thought and science, and the growing field of the medical humanities. My thesis is provisionally entitled "The Coming of Plasticity: Transformation, Transgression and Experience in Contemporary French Thought, Literature, and Visual Culture".

I am primarily interested in the work of the contemporary French philosopher Catherine Malabou on the concept of "plasticity". Malabou thinks plasticity as an intrinsic capacity for mutation and transformation, and applies the concept over a diverse range of contexts, from continental philosophy to contemporary neuroscience and biology. I explore the concept of plasticity in relation to other thinkers (namely Georges Bataille, Jean-Luc Nancy and Isabelle Stengers) before moving onto explorations of plasticity in French and Francophone literature and film (Marie Darrieussecq, Michel Houellebecq, Alain Guiraudie, Michael Haneke). My argument is broadly that contemporary French thought and culture is bearing witness to the event of the coming of plasticity, and that this demands creative and ethical engagement with new forms of embodiment, subjectivity, and community.

I am also currently running a medical humanities project entitled "Narrating Plasticity: Stories of Transformation between the Plastic Arts and Neurosciences". Funded by the King's College London Early Career Researcher Collaborative Scheme, this project brings together a team of neuroscientists with the ceramicist Amanda Doidge across a series of workshops to explore different conceptions of plasticity across science and art. I am interested in how this encounter might inspire innovation in both creative artistic practices and clinical research and practice.

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