Kir Kuiken

Assistant Professor

Kir Kuiken Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

Romantic Literature and Culture, 19th-century British Literature, Literary Theory, Contemporary Continental Philosophy and Political Theory.

Humanities 364

Professor Kuiken joined the faculty at the University at Albany in 2008. His areas of research include Romantic Literature and Culture, Romantic moral and political philosophy, and contemporary political and aesthetic theory. His present work focuses on the relationship between aesthetic imagination and the formation of modern political sovereignty in the wake of the collapse of divine right. His current book project traces the development of materialist conceptions of the imagination in Romanticism for the construction of community. What emerges is a form of sovereignty that leads to something other than a fantasized political homogeneity, a sovereignty that must refer itself to the temporally determined, non-transcendental, material conditions of its institution. His other projects include exploring the legacy of this materialist conception of sovereignty throughout current debates in critical theory.

Selected Publications


Imagined Sovereignties: Towards a New Political Romanticism, (Fordham University Press, forthcoming)  

Situates a materialist conception of the imagination in relation to Romantic political discourse, arguing that the period's revolutionary secularization of political institutions combines a new foundation of sociality with the category of the aesthetic. Romanticism's re-assertion of poetic power in place of divine sovereignty presents an alternative understanding of the secularization of the political.


"Introduction- The Citizen-Subject Revisited," Postmodern Culture, 22.2 (2011-2012), forthcoming.

"The Metaleptic Imagination in Shelley's Defence of Poetry," Keats-Shelley Journal, (60) 2011: 95-111.

"Shelley's 'Mask of Anarchy' and the Problem of Modern Sovereignty," Literature Compass, 8.2 (2010): 95-106.

"Between Heidegger and Derrida: On the Impossible Futures of Techne," Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 33.3-4 (2006): 293-310.

"Deleuze/ Derrida: Towards an Almost Imperceptible Difference," Research in Phenomenology, 35 (2005): 290-308.

"On the Delineation of Choice and Decision in Benjamin's "Goethe's Elective Affinities,'" Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 31.3 (2004): 286-308.

Recent Presentations

"Towards a New Political Romanticism: Coleridge, Fichte, Schlegel and the Unconditional," Emory University, Atlanta, GA, Feb 16, 2012.

"Derrida and Nietzsche: on the "Bidding Up" of Sovereignty," IMEC Derrida Translation Seminar, France, Jul 4-9, 2011.

"Educts of the Imagination: Coleridge's Symbolic Politics and the Problem of Sovereignty," North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, Vancouver, Canada, Aug 18-22, 2010.

"Derrida and Schmitt on the 'Exception,' IMEC Derrida Translation Seminar, France, Jul 5-10, 2010.

"The Eclipse of the Gaze: Death, Image and Community in Nancy and Blanchot," Symposium on Death and Dying, Trent University, Canada, Mar 26-27, 2010.

"On the Threshold: London and the (Missing) Experience of Being-in-Common in Wordsworth's Prelude," International Conference on Romanticism, New York, Nov 5-8, 2009.

"Between Two Exceptions: American Sovereignty as Auto-Immune Reaction," International Association of American Studies, Beijing, China, Sep 18-21, 2009.

Recent Courses

Graduate Classes:

AENG 581- Romanticism and Enlightenment

AENG 541- Romantic Ideology/ Aesthetic Ideology

Undergraduate Classes:

AENG 411Y- Romanticism and History

AENG 410- Literature and the Problem of Sovereignty

AENG 343- Keats and Shelley

AENG 334- Romanticism, Imagination and Revolution