Dr William McDonald
Senior Lecturer - School of Humanities
Phone: +61 2 6773 2698
I started my philosophical training as an undergraduate at the University of New England, where I obtained a thorough grounding in the history of European philosophy and in Anglo-American analytic philosophy. I continued with a combination of continental European philosophy and Anglophone analytic philosophy as a PhD student at the University of Sydney, where I took courses in both the Department of General Philosophy and the Department of Traditional and Modern Philosophy. However it was at the University of Copenhagen I undertook all my PhD dissertation research, on the philosophical rhetoric of Søren Kierkegaard. There I acquired an abiding passion for the work of the melancholy Dane.
Now I am a specialist in continental European philosophy of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. My research and teaching includes German, Scandinavian and French philosophy from the German Idealists and Romantics to the French poststructuralists and postmodernists. These interests in turn incorporate interests in the history of philosophy, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophical psychology, philosophy of religion and comparative literature.
I have also ventured outside the bounds of conventional philosophical discourse into theatre and filmmaking. My play True Sex is based on the memoirs of Herculine Barbin, a nineteenth century French hermaphrodite. It explores the imposition of sex and gender identities by institutional power. Through the use of puppets and masks, and the introduction of figures from nineteenth century French pantomime, questions of identity and power are performed rather than simply discussed.
More recently I have made a couple of documentary films about indigenous Australians - one on a regional Aboriginal Medical Service (Koori Health in Koori Hands); and one on the political career of the first indigenous Australian woman to contest a seat in federal parliament (Dreaming Out Loud). These films explore the politics of representation, identity, race, class, gender, and rural versus urban life in contemporary Australia .
Most recently I have become interested in philosophical psychology of religion. This has led to projects comparing Christian and Buddhist practices for transforming afflictive mental states into affirmative spiritual states, and to comparing the works of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard for analytic and therapeutic resources as well as for critiques of modern secular psychology.
BA (UNE), Dip.Ed. (UNE), Ph.D. (Syd)
Co-ordinator of and Lecturer in
PHIL150 Introduction to Philosophy B: Introduction to Metaphysics
PHIL320/420 Continental Philosophy A: Nietzsche
PHIL322/422 Continental Philosophy B: Foucault
PHIL401H Philosophy Hons Coursework
PHIL402H Philosophy Hons Dissertation
plus Lecturer in
PHIL303 Epistemology: The Enlightenment and Beyond
The work of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Foucault.
Comparative philosophy of religion.
History of philosophy.
Steven Emmanuel, Jon Stewart, & William McDonald (eds), Kierkegaard's Concepts, Tome I: Philosophy, Ashgate: Aldershot & Burlington (under contract).
Steven Emmanuel, Jon Stewart, & William McDonald (eds), Kierkegaard's Concepts, Tome II: Theology, Ashgate: Aldershot & Burlington (under contract).
Steven Emmanuel, Jon Stewart, & William McDonald (eds), Kierkegaard's Concepts, Tome III: Literature and Aesthetics, Ashgate: Aldershot & Burlington (under contract).
Steven Emmanuel, Jon Stewart, & William McDonald (eds), Kierkegaard's Concepts, Tome IV: Social Science, Ashgate: Aldershot & Burlington (under contract).
Søren Kierkegaard, Prefaces: Light Reading for Certain Classes As the Occasion May Require, By Nicolas Notabene, translated and with an introduction by William McDonald, Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1989.
"Kierkegaard and Romanticism," in John Lippitt & George Pattison (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard, Oxford University Press (under contract).
"Adversity is Prosperity: Kierkegaard's Inverse Dialectic of Spirit," in Heiko Schulz & Jochen Schmidt (eds), Religion and the Irrational: Historical and Systematic Perspectives from Kant to Derrida, J.C.B. Mohr Verlag (forthcoming 2012).
"Recent Developments in Scholarship: Kierkegaard," in Jack Reynolds, Felicity Joseph, & Ashley Woodward (eds), Continuum Companion to Existentialism, Continuum Press (forthcoming 2011).
"Xenophon: Kierkegaard's Use of the Socrates of the Memorabilia," in Jon Stewart and Katalin Nun (eds), Kierkegaard and the Greek World, Tome I: Plato and Socrates, Aldershot etc.: Ashgate, 2010: 199-211.
"Kierkegaard's Demonic Boredom," in Carlo Salzani & Barbara dalla Pezza (eds), Essays on Boredom and Modernity, Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi (2009): 61-84.
"Kierkegaard," in Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds), History of Western Philosophy of Religion Volume 4: Nineteenth Century Philosophy of Religion, London: Acumen (2009): 175-186.
"Australia: An Archaeology of the Silence of Kierkegaard's Philosophical Reception," in Jon Stewart (ed.), Kierkegaard Studies: Sources, Reception, and Resources Volume 8, Aldershot etc.: Ashgate (2009): 175-193.
"Indirection and Parrhesia - The Roles of Socrates' Daimonion and Kierkegaard's Styrelse in Communication," in Poul Houe and Gordon Marino (eds), Kierkegaard and the Word, Copenhagen : Reitzel (2003): 126-138.
"Retracing the Circular Ruins of Hegel's Encyclopedia," in Robert Perkins (ed.), International Kierkegaard Commentary: Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Macon: Mercer University Press, 1997: 227-245.
"Translator's Introduction," in Søren Kierkegaard, Prefaces: Light Reading For Certain Classes As The Occasion May Require, By Nicolas Notabene, translated and with an introduction by William McDonald, Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1989, pp. 1-13.
Refereed Electronic Publications
"Søren Kierkegaard,"in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ed. Edward N. Zalta), Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kierkegaard/ (updated 2009)
"Gjentagelsen [Repetition]" in The Literary Encyclopedia, http://www.litencyc.com (2005)
"Frygt og Bæven [Fear and Trembling]" in The Literary Encyclopedia, http://www.litencyc.com/ (2005)
"Søren Kierkegaard," in The Literary Encyclopedia, http://www.litencyc.com/ (2004)
"Love in Kierkegaard's Symposia," Minerva – an internet journal of philosophy, Volume 7 http://www.ul.ie/~philos/vol7/kierkegaard.html (November 2003)
"Søren Aabye Kierkegaard," The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://www.iep.utm.edu/k/kierkega.htm (2002)
Refereed Journal Articles
"The Dialectic of Moods, Emotions and Spirit in Kierkegaard and Mādhyamika Buddhism," Acta Kierkegaardiana, Volume 5, University of Toronto (forthcoming 2011).
"Dialektika vnutorneho rozpolozenia, pocitov a ducha u Kierkegaarda a v budhistickej skole Mädhyamika," in Roman Kralik (ed.), Acta Kierkegaardiana, Supplementary Volume, University of Toronto (forthcoming 2011).
"From the Individual to the Institution to the Individual," Kierkegaard Studies, Kyoto, (December 2006): 53-70 [in Japanese].
"Writing as a Technology of the Self in Kierkegaard and Foucault," Enrahonar, No. 25 Revista de Filosofia de la Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (April 1996): 55-67.
"Madness in Postscript," Søren Kierkegaard Newsletter , No.32 (November 1995): 4-9.
"Confession As Mask," Søren Kierkegaard Society Bulletin, No.1 (August 1995): 2-10.
True Sex, UNE Theatre Studies Department (performed Aug. 21-23, 1997). Scripted and produced by William McDonald. Based on Michel Foucault (ed.), Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth Century French Hermaphrodite. [2 hours].
Womb Loom. UNE Theatre Studies Department (performed Oct. 17-18, 1996). Scripted and produced by William McDonald [2 hours].
Dreaming Out Loud – scripted and produced by William McDonald. A documentary film about the first indigenous Australian woman to contest a seat in federal parliament. Recipient of a NSW Centenary of Federation Aboriginal History Grant (June, 2001) [88 minutes].
Koori Health in Koori Hands – scripted and produced by William McDonald. A film on the ADSI Aboriginal Medical Service (June, 2000) [15 minutes].