UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Dr Tim Beasley-Murray

Dr Tim Beasley-Murray

Associate Professor



Joined UCL
1st Aug 1996

Research summary

My research operates on the borders of literature, philosophy and political theory and deals  with European culture broadly, especially French, German, Russian, and Czech and Slovak.

My doctoral dissertation explored conceptions of the experience of modernity and means of making sense of that experience in the thought of Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin.  A revised version of this came out as Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin: Experience and Form with Pagrave in 2007.

I have continued to work on both these thinkers: an article on motifs of seed and sperm in Benjamin appeared in Modernism/Modernity in 2012; and a piece on conceptions of reticence in Bakhtin was published in Common Knowledge in 2013.

In addition, I have published articles and book chapters on, inter alia:

  • the political philosophy of revolution with particular reference to 1989
  • psychoanalytic and post-colonial approaches to Habsburg culture
  • a variety of topics in Czech and Slovak literature
  • children's literature

I am currently working on a larger project that examines the relation between silence and speech with reference to Thucydides, Hobbes, Schmitt, Arendt, Heidegger, Bakhtin, Serres and others.

Other established or developing research interests include:

  • empathy, listening
  • literature and evil
  • Hannah Arendt
  • contemporary French literature, in particular Emmanuel Carrère and Michel Houellebecq
  • political theology and conceptions of miracle
  • the philosophy of dissent, Vaclav Havel, Jan Patocka


Teaching summary

I teach and contribute to a wide variety of courses in comparative literature, political philosophy, cinema, literary theory, and cultural studies at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.

Courses Taught

SESS2101 History of European Political Ideas (BA)

SEESGE25 All Quiet on the Eastern Front: Culture, Politics and Everyday Life in Central & Eastern Europe from Stalin to Present (MA)

In 2008 I was given one of the Provosts Teaching Awards.

PhD projects that I am (co-)supervising or have recently (co-)supervised include:

  • ideas of the political in Hannah Arendt and Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Jan Patocka's conception of responsibility
  • conceptions of the 'decisive moment' from Kierkegaard to Zizek
  • thinking through images in Shelley and Walter Benjamin
  • creativity and control in the work of Witold Gombrowicz
  • Kropotkin's anarchism in the context of forms of knowledge
  • conceptions of space in contemporary Ukrainian literature


PhD, Philosophy | 2006
University of Cambridge
MA Cantab, Modern Languages | 1995


Since 2008 I have been Senior Lecturer in European Thought and Culture at UCL.

I studied Modern Languages at Cambridge, before spending a year at the Ecole normale superieure in Paris.  I joined the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 1996 as Lecturer in Slovak Studies and, at the same time, embarked on my doctoral project.  I spent the academic year 2009-2010 on an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies.