RAJAN, Tilottama

Tilottama Rajan (PhD Toronto) is a Full-Time Professor in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). While she is interested in the material aspects of the organisation of knowledge, her four main research interests include: Romantic literature in the 1790s (Godwin, Blake, Wordsworth, women novelists), and in the Shelleys and Coleridge (including his interests in philosophy and science); German Romantic Philosophy and aesthetic theory (specifically Kant, Schopenhauer, the Schlegels, Schelling, and Hegel); Contemporary theory focusing on deconstruction and post-structuralism and their linkages with phenomenology, late Marxism and psychoanalysis; The organization of knowledge relating to disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, and how they have been constituted in Britain and Europe from the late 18th Century to the present, as well as in certain faculties. Dr. Rajan's associated project, “Discursive Construction of Knowledge in the Romantic Period” studies the differences between the construction of knowledge in Britain and Germany during the 18th/19th Centuries, focusing on histories of philosophy by Hegel and Schelling, interactions between German (idealist) and British (empiricist) science, and the effect of the Scottish Enlightenment on Kant and Hegel. Dr. Rajan is also a member of UWO’s inter-disciplinary Romanticism and 18th/19th Studies Group which brings together researchers from UWO and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. She has two additional projects underway, entitled: “A Theory of a Specifically Romantic Narrative” and “Encyclopedic Thinking From PostKantian Idealism to Deconstruction.”

Listing Details

University of Western Ontario Department of English,University College Room 278, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7
University College Room 278
Research Description
My earliest books (Dark Interpreter, Cornell UP, 1980; The Supplement of Reading, Cornell UP, 1990) used German aesthetic and hermeneutic theory of the late 18th and 19thc to provide a more comparatist context for reading British Romantic texts that are increasingly being thought within an insular or imperially “cosmopolitan” Romanticism. I have also edited two volumes that bring contemporary Theory into dialogue with German Idealist and Romantic philosophy (with David Clark, Intersections: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Contemporary Theory, State University of New York Press, 1995; with Arkady Plotnitsky, Idealism Without Absolutes, State University of New York Press, 2004). In the past ten years I have focused more purely on Idealist and Romantic philosophy as engaged with what Derrida calls “the margins of philosophy,” and thus as a unique episteme that invents a first form of Theory. I am currently working on two book projects. The first, Entangled Knowledge: Encyclopedics, Theory and the University from Hegel and Schelling to Foucault, looks at interdisciplinary organizations of knowledge, and in particular the postKantian project of an “encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences,” and traces a line from Idealism and Romanticism, through Nietzsche and other later 19th and early 20thc. thinkers, to Foucault’s Order of Things and Archeology of Knowledge, and the work of Derrida, Lyotard and others. The second project takes up Hegel’s and Schelling’s interdisciplinary work between Kant’s notion of architectonic and Novalis’ notion of encyclopedics as two opposite models for the (dis)integration of disciplines within a larger whole. It tries to think between Hegel and Schelling on a number of topics including system, aesthetics, history, and the philosophy of nature. I am also particularly interested in interactions between 18th-19thc Germany and Britain in the area of the life sciences, and their extensions for other topics, such as how one thinks about the life and afterlife of an authorial corpus