Canada Research Chair

Davide Panagia,
B.A. Hons. (Manitoba), M.Litt. (Oxon), Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins).

Davide Panagia  is a political and cultural theorist who holds the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies at Trent University. He is the Co-Editor of the cultural and political theory journal, Theory & Event, and is a contributor to The Contemporary Condition.

Outside of contemporary and historical studies in political theory his research and teaching interests are diverse and include work in aesthetics and cultural theory, modern and post-structural theories of value, visual culture, media studies, democratic theory and multicultural ethics.

Currently he is working on two major research projects. The first of these asks the following question: What are the theories and practices of beholding that inform the iconophilia of contemporary democratic politics? This project explores an ethics of appearances by addressing how individuals or groups in pluralist democratic societies attend to the emergence of political subjectivities at the level of their appearances. Thus, the postures of attention that we lend to appearances is of critical importance to contemporary democratic life because the advenience of an appearance holds the potential to solicit an actively responsive mode for discomposing our attachments to the world.

The second project analyzes David Hume’s contributions to contemporary political and cultural theory and will be included as a volume in the Rowman and Littlefield series, Modernity and Political Thought.

Davide Panagia has published two books. The most recent, entitled The Political Life of Sensation (Duke UP, 2009), posits sensation as a radical democratic moment of aesthetic judgment and contends that sensory experience interrupts our perceptual givens, creating occasions to suspend authority and reconfigure the arrangement of a political order. In the book he analyzes diverse sites of cultural engagement including the visual dynamics portrayed in the film The Ring, the growth of festival culture in late fifteenth century Florence, the practices of convivium espoused by the Slow Food movement, and the architectural design of public newsstands. These occasions for sensation are then linked to notable moments in the history of political thought in order to show the political potential of a dislocated subjectivity therein. Democratic politics, he concludes, involves a taking part in those everyday practices of sensation that interrupt our common modes of sensing and afford us an awareness of what had previously been insensible.

Davide Panagia’s first book, The Poetics of Political Thinking (Duke UP, 2006), was selected for Honorable Mention for the First Book Award from the Foundations of Political Theory Division of the American Political Science Association. That work inquires into contemporary accounts of the nature of political argument from the perspective of modern political and aesthetic thought.

Davide Panagia’s writings have been published in various peer-reviewed journals including “Political Theory,” “Diacritics,” “Theory & Event,” “The Journal for Cultural Research,” “Polity,” and “Citizenship Studies.” He is also the recipient of several awards for scholarly and research excellence including a Rhodes Scholarship (1993), a SSHRC Post- Doctoral Fellowship (2003), a Canadian Foundation for Innovation Grant (2004), and a SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2006).

For a selection of Davide Panagia's writings as well as his CV, please click on the following link: