Professor Arthur Bradley



I am Professor of Comparative Literature at Lancaster University. I have also held visiting positions at the University of Durham and the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. In recent years, I have given keynote, plenary and invited lectures internationally at institutions such as American University of Beirut, Columbia Global Center Paris, Copenhagen Business School, University of Geneva, Georgetown University, Institute of Philosophy Ljubljana, University of Uppsala, University of Rome La Sapienza, University of Toronto, and the University of Vienna.

I work at the intersection between comparative literature, philosophy, theology and political theory. To begin with my most recent work, my monograph Unbearable Life: A Genealogy of Political Erasure appeared in the Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture series at Columbia University Press in 2019. It has been praised as “a momentous work of political theory” (Textual Practice); “a ground-breaking study and a paradigm shift” (a 6,000-word review article in Political Theology) and “A compelling book…Bradley offers a very insightful perspective…The result is a new, very distinctive interpretation of annihilating politics, past and present” (Review of Politics). In 2022, this book was the subject of an “Author-meets-readers” forum at the University of Vienna; an author interview at the University of Denver; a further author interview at the New Book Network and a book forum at the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.

I am the author of many other works, including Negative Theology and Modern French Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2004); Derrida’s Of Grammatology: An Indiana Philosophical Guide (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008) and Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). In addition, I have also published articles and essays in Theory, Culture & Society, The Review of Politics, Telos, Security Dialogue, Paragraph, Textual Practice, Problemi, Political Theology, Journal for Cultural Research and Literature and Theology amongst other journals.Finally, I have co-edited a number of collections of essays including The Politics to Come: Power, Modernity and the Messianic (London: Bloomsbury 2010); The Messianic Now: Religion, Politics, Culture (London: Routledge, 2011) and, most recently, Teologia politica oggi? (Rome: Quodlibet, 2023).

In 2023, I am working on a number of research projects, including a new monograph provisionally entitled In the Theatre of Sovereignty. I also co-edit (with Antonio Cerella) the book series Political Theologies (Bloomsbury). This series publishes new and classic works on political theology by Massimo Cacciari, Elettra Stimilli, Hent de Vries, Michel de Certeau, Regis Debray and Andrew Gibson amongst others. Please see the series website for further information:



Unbearable Life: A Genealogy of Political Erasure (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019), pp. 272.

Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. viii +202.

The New Atheist Novel: Fiction, Philosophy and Polemic after 9/11 (co-authored with Andrew Tate) (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), pp. ix +136.

Derrida’s Of Grammatology: An Indiana Philosophical Guide (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), pp. 166.

Negative Theology and Modern French Philosophy (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. xiii + 244.

Select edited books:

Teologia politica oggi? ed. byElettra Stimilli and Arthur Bradley (Roma: Quodlibet, forthcoming 2023).

The Messianic Now: Religion, Philosophy, Culture ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. vi + 208.

The Politics to Come: Power, Modernity and the Messianic ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher (London: Continuum, 2010), pp. xii + 225.

Edited special issues of journals:

Imaginarium Politicum: The Politics of the Image and the Image of Politics.” Special issue of Textual Practice ed. by Arthur Bradley and Antonio Cerella. Forthcoming, 2023.

“The Political Imaginarium”. Special issue of Political Theology ed. by Arthur Bradley and Elettra Stimilli. 24: 1 (2023), pp. 144.

Symposium on Elettra Stimilli, Debt and Guilt: A Political Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury, 2019). Political Theology. 07 November 2022. DOI:

“Droneland.” Special section of Security Dialogue ed. by Arthur Bradley and Antonio Cerella 50: 4 (2019): 331-60.

“Carl Schmitt, Political Theology and Modernity”. Special issue of The Journal for Cultural Research ed. by Arthur Bradley, Antonio Cerella and William Rasch 20: 3 (2016), pp. 328.

“The Messianic Now”. Special double issue of The Journal for Cultural Research ed. by Arthur Bradley and Paul Fletcher 13: 3-4 (2009), pp. 208.

Select recent journal articles and chapters:

“Human Interest: Offspring of Usury from Luther to Bentham”. Theory, Culture & Society. (Forthcoming, 2023).

“Poetics of Disappearance: A Roundtable on Arthur Bradley’s Unbearable Life: A Genealogy of Political Erasure.” Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory 21: 3 (2022).

“In the Antechamber of Power: Sovereign Divisibility from Schiller to Schmitt.” Political Theology. 29 July 2022. DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2022.2105279

“On Sovereignty: A Conversation with Arthur Bradley.” Religious Theory. 27 May 2022.

“Let the Lord the Judge be Judge: Hobbes and Locke on Jephthah, Liberalism, Martyrdom.” Law, Culture and the Humanities. 18: 2 (2022): 318-337.

“Za zaveso: od Hobbesa do Deleuza [Behind the Curtain: From Hobbes to Deleuze].” Problemi. 9-10 (2021).

'Terrors of Theory: Critical Theory of Terror from Kojève to Žižek'. Telos. 190 (Spring 2020): 157-176.

‘Lacan’s War Games: Cybernetics, Sovereignty and War in Seminar II’. Filosofski Vestnik. 40: 1 (2019), pp. 89-107.

'Deadly Force: Contract, Killing, Sacrifice'. Security Dialogue. 50: 4 (2019) pp. 331–343.

'Dismembered: Citizen Sacrifice in Rousseau's "The Levite of Ephraim"'. The Review of Politics. 81: 2 (2019) pp. 231-53.

‘Jus Puniendi: La questione della pena in Foucault, Agamben ed Esposito’ in Teologie e Politica: Genealogia e Actualita ed. Elettra Stimilli (Roma: Quodlibet, 2019), pp. 105-26.

'Illusions of the Future: Ishiguro, Liberalism, Political Theology'. Political Theology 19: 7 (2018). pp. 1-5

'In the Sovereign Machine: Sovereignty, Governmentality, Automaticity’. Journal for Cultural Research. 22 (3) (2018), 209-223

‘Accelerator despite itself: Credo, Crisis, Katechon’ in Credo, Credit, Crisis: Reflections on Faith and Money ed. by Aidan Tynan, Laurent Milesi and Christopher John Müller (London: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2017), pp. 65-84.

'Odnarejeno: Benjamin in prihodnost preteklosti [Undone: Benjamin and the Past to Come]'. Problemi, 55: 3-4 (2017), 177–199.


"Hobbes's Medeas: Sparagmos and Political Theology". Invited lecture. University of Navarra. 2023.

“Philosophers and the Machine: Figures of the Slave from Espinas to Kojève.” Invited paper. Critical Antiquities. University of Sydney, 2022. (Online.)

“In the Antechamber of Power: Sovereign Divisibility from Schiller to Schmitt.” Teologia politica 2022/Political Theology. International symposium. Università di Roma 1 “La Sapienza”, 2022.

'Human Interest: On Usury in Luther, Calvin and Bentham.' Sovereignty: Secular and Sacred. International symposium. Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät der Universität Wien. University of Vienna, 2020.

'In the Sovereign Machine: Sovereignty, Governmentality, Automaticity’. Derrida and Technology/Derrida et technologie. Columbia Global Center. Paris. 2019.

'Terrors of Theory: Kojève, Levinas, Blanchot, Žižek’. The End(s) of Political Theology. International symposium. Institute of Philosophy. Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ljubljana, Slovenia. 2018.

'What is a Slave? Genealogy of an Artificial Life'. Artificial Lives: Imagining Life. International symposium. University of Sussex, 2017.

‘Terrors of Theory: Between Kojève and Žižek’. Thinking the Event: Politics, Philosophy, Culture. Doctoral workshop. University of Agder, Norway, 2017.

‘Uncommon: Hobbes and Theoliberalism’. Agamben and Decadence. Interntional symposium. University of Nottingham, 2017.

'Futures of the Past; Benjamin, Psychonanalysis, Messianism'. Transformations of Psychoanalysis, Doctoral workshop. University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2016.

'Undone: Benjamin and the Past to Come'. Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale. University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2016.

'Uncommonwealth: The Martyr and the Subject in Hobbes'. School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Qatar, 2015.

'Accelerator Despite Itself? Paul, Schmitt and the Katechon'. Respondents: Oliver Davies (KCL) and Michael Scott (LSE). Paul, Wonder and World. Workshop. Kihg's College London, 2015.

‘Understanding the World: Religious and Secular Perspectives’. Discussion with Kenan Malik. LSE Space for Thought Festival. London School of Economics, 2014.

'Cities of Cacus: Sovereignty, Monstrosity and Terror’. University of Toronto, Canada, 2013.

'Incorruptible: On Terror’s Two Bodies’. Terrorism and the Literary Imagination. International symposium. University of Uppsala, Sweden, 2012

'Unbearable Life: Literature, Sovereignty, Biopolitics’. Desire, Literature, Culture. International symposium. University of Malta, 2012.

'"Untimely Ripp’d": Shakespeare, Sovereignty and Unbearable Life’. Shakespeare’s Imagined Orient. International symposium. American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 2011.