UCL Faculty of Laws


Quain 2024: The Contingent World

13 May 2024–17 May 2024, 6:00 pm–3:00 pm

Photo of Amia Srinivasan (credit Suki Dhanda) and three statues and pillars

Quain Lectures in Jurisprudence 2023/24 series: three lectures by Prof. Amia Srinivasan (All Souls College, Oxford), followed by a Commentators' Seminar

Event Information

Open to





UCL Laws

Quain Lectures 2023/24: The Contingent World

Speaker: Professor Amia Srinivasan (All Souls College, Oxford)

Convenors: Professors Kevin Toh and Jeff King, University Clege London

About the Lectures:

A 'critical genealogy' is an account of the origins of some thing of contemporary significance – a widespread belief, institution, practice, value, concept – put forward with the purpose of unseating or discrediting that thing. These lectures will think about critical genealogy in some of its historical, epistemological and political dimensions. Lecture 1 will trace the history of critical genealogy among the ancient Greeks, from the sixth century Ionian philosophers through the fifth century sophists to Plato. Lecture 2 will discuss analytic philosophy's ambivalent relationship to critical genealogy, and assess recent attempts by philosophers to genealogically debunk various targets including morality, theism, commonsense ontology and analytic philosophy itself. Lecture 3 will consider genealogy as a method of political critique, examining its possibilities and limits as a technique of liberation.

Professor Srinivasan's three lectures will be followed on Friday, 17 May by a seminar to discuss the lectures with the following commentators: Prof. Adrian Blau, Dr Sarah Bufkin and Prof. MM McCabe

Programme of Events

  • Lecture I: Genealogy and the Ancients - Monday 13 May, 6pm | Reserve your ticket here
  • Lecture II: Genealogy and the Epistemic Question - Wednesday 15 May, 12pm | Reserve your ticket here
  • Lecture III: Genealogy as Critique - Thursday 16 May, 6pm | Reserve your ticket here
  • Commentators' Seminar - Friday 17 May, 1pm | Reserve your ticket here

**Please note that tickets for each Quain 2024 event need to be booked seperately**

About the Speaker

Photo of Amia Srinivasan, credit Suki Dhanda
Amia Srinivasan is the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford. Her work spans across epistemology, ethics, political philosophy and feminist theory. Her book The Right to Sex was published in 2021. It was an instant Sunday Times bestseller and the recipient of the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transdisciplinary Philosophy, as well as Blackwell’s Book of the Year. She is a contributing editor of the London Review of Books, where she writes about politics, animals, technology, death, sex and other topics. Her essays have also appeared in the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, New York Times, and elsewhere.
About the Commentators

Prof. Adrian Blau
Prof. Adrian Blau: Adrian is Professor of Politics at King’s College London. Much of his research is on rationality and irrationality, including in the work of Thomas Hobbes and Jürgen Habermas. He has published many articles and chapters on the methodology of history of political thought. He edited the first ever textbook on political theory methods: Methods in Analytical Political Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and is currently editing a book on Quentin Skinner’s seminal essay ‘Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas’.

Dr Sarah Bufkin
Dr Sarah Bufkin: Sarah is an assistant professor of political theory at the University of Birmingham. She works on Black Atlantic political thought and Critical Theory, with a specific focus on racism and racialization, imperial techniques of government, and racial capitalism. Prior to starting at Birmingham in 2022, she was an Examination Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.

Prof. MM McCabe
Prof. MM McCabe: Mary Margaret McCabe (‘MM’) works on ancient philosophy, on ethics and on epistemology. She is Professor of Philosophy Emerita and Fellow of King’s College London, a Fellow of the British Academy, and Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. In 2022-3 she was the President of the Aristotelian Society and the Honorary President of the Classical Association; she was previously President of the Mind Association (2016) and the British Philosophical Society (2009-12). MM is a co-founder and the Chair of Trustees of the charity Philosophy in Prison, which provides and supports philosophical discussion for prisoners in the UK (www.philosophyinprison.com).

Book Now

Lecture main image by Tom Keldenich on Unsplash

Prof. Srinivasan photograph, credit: Suki Dhanda