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Dr Richard Stopford

Assistant Professor (Education) / Deputy Director of UG Studies/ Tutor Manager

Assistant Professor (Education) / Deputy Director of UG Studies/ Tutor Manager in the Department of Philosophy


Departmental Roles

Admin Roles, 2023/24:

Deputy Directory of Undergraduate Studies

Tutor Manager

Harassment officer

Research Interests and Biography


I primarily work in aesthetics, drawing on traditions as diverse as critical theory, contemporary analytic metaphysics, phenomenology, poststructuralism.

AOS: Aesthetics; Critical Theory (esp. Adorno); Metaphysics; Poststructuralism; German idealism (Esp. Kant and Hegel); Feminist philosophy.

AOC: Psychonalayis; Existentialism; Political Theory; Philosophy of language; post-colonial theory.


My PhD and early work focused on the aesthetics and philosophy of Adorno. I have since published on his theory of aesthetic autonomy, have work on his critical metaphysics, and am developing intersections between his aesthetics and eeriness. Whilst I have worked specifically on Adorno's approach to aesthetics, his influence pervades all of my philosophical thinking: that the socio-political historical domains mediate the very being of subjects and objects generally. I take this as an important intersection between critical theory and poststructuralist traditions, and am currently very indebted to work by the likes of Judith Butler in that regard. The political being of aesthetic phenomena resurfaces throughout the following projects:


Strangeness is my main topic of aesthetic interest at the moment. Strangeness, as I am calling it, refers to a broad spectrum of aesthetic experiences in which we feel disturbed in some way or other. How and to what effect we will be disturbed is much to do with the particular modality of strangeness in question. Some forms of strangeness have a rich pedigree of historical engagement: Kant and Burke's theories of the sublime; Freud's Unheimlich; Kristeva's abjection, to name a few.

However, other aspects of strangeness have either been subsumed under these categories, especially uncanniness, or simply neglected. Inspired by Mark Fisher's work on weirdness and eeriness, I have been developing novel accounts of these phenomena, and am looking to extend these treatments into the domains of creepiness and spookiness. Whilst these are clearly related, and often covary, I argue that they are nevertheless distinct in their phenomenology, their object triggers, their affective profile, and their socio-political, historical and existential import, i.e., in terms of how they help contribute to the meaningfulness of lived life. I have two papers on eeriness, one on creepiness and eeriness (see Adorno above) in progress, all of which will be geared towards a monograph on strangeness.

Following themes arising out of Adorno's aesthetics, I am interested in the ontology of artworks, albeit from a critical point of view. To that end, I have papers on the metaphysics of statues as it informs restoration work, and also decolonial activism. I am also interested in the socio-cultural formation of aesthetic subjects, refracted through the lens of postcolonial theory. In that regard I have worked on cultural appropriation, and how subjects and objects as such configure the dialectics of appreication and appropriation within hegemonic contexts.

Finally, again arising out of themes in Adorno's aesthetics, I have worked on the philosophy of film music. I'm fairly nuts about music and films so this was a natural fit for me. I have a folder full of ideas for papers on film and music that I will write at some point!

Critical Pedagogy:

Further to my critical and Political theory interests, I am very interested in how education, and the classroom more specifically, is configured according to socio-political, cultural and historical sources. I am particularly interested in how the classroom presupposes a variety of existential, epistemological and metaphysical frames in order to operate. This is especially interesting when the teaching, and the content of the course, puts pressure on those frames. I have already published a couple of papers on this, bringing Wittgenstein, feminist, and decolonial theory to bear on the limits of educational possibility. In line with this, I am currently working on papers concerning the politics of common sense, radicalisation, and extremism in the classroom.

I have a broad portfolio of teaching as a result of my diverse research interests which span both the continental and analytic traditions. I have taught Aesthetics, German Idealism, Critical Theory, Philosophy of Language, Logic, Metaphysics, Existentialism, Feminism and Political Philosophy amongst others.

Research interests

  • Aesthetics, Adorno, Critical Theory, Post-Kantian Philosophy, Contemporary Metaphysics, Critical Pedagogy

Supervision students