Martin Hägglund, a specialist in post-Kantian philosophy, critical theory and modernist literature, has been appointed Birgit Baldwin professor of comparative literature and the humanities, effective April 17.
He is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and is Director of the Department of Comparative Literature.
Hägglund, who joined Yale faculty in 2012, works with texts in French, German, English and Scandinavian. He has received grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Fulbright Commission and the Bogliasco Foundation. He was elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2009, received the Schück Prize from the Swedish Academy in 2014, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018.
Hägglund’s work engages with the legacy of German idealism (from Hegel to Marx and beyond), modern writers (Proust, Woolf, Nabokov), desire theorists (from Augustin to Freud and Lacan ) and the philosophers of the time (from Kant to Husserl, Heidegger and Derrida). His widely reviewed and highly acclaimed books – which have been the subject of multiple symposia, symposia and journal volumes – include “Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life” (2008), “Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov “(2012); and, more recently, “This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom” (2019). Hägglund’s work has been translated into a dozen languages and he has lectured at venues around the world, including keynote addresses at the Festival of Ideas in Skopje, Macedonia; the University of Budapest; Johns Hopkins University; Cornell; Harvard; University of Melbourne; Oxford; and others. In 2020, Hägglund was invited to host the Swedish radio show ‘Sommar’, a big honor in the country, where the show he wrote and presented drew a large audience of listeners.
“This life: secular faith and spiritual freedom ”transformed the discourse on faith, secularism and democratic socialism. In it, Hägglund argues that finitude is a condition of possibility for our lives to matter, and that emancipated self-governance is the path to owning our finite lives. In making this argument, Hägglund reassesses the work of canonical thinkers – from Hegel and Marx to Martin Luther King, Jr. “This Life” was named Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Millions, NRC and The Sydney Morning Herald . He received the 2020 René Wellek Prize, the most prestigious distinction awarded by the American Comparative Literature Association. New York Magazine chose “This Life” as one of the essential books to read during the pandemic, and Prospect Magazine named Hägglund one of the 50 best thinkers in the world.
Hägglund is currently the Chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature, and previously served as Director of Graduate Studies; he served on the executive committee of the humanities program and convened the intramural humanities discussion group and the Mellon discussion group for the new humanities faculty. He recently taught courses on “Being and Time” from Heidegger, the temporality of Conrad’s story to Beckett, and the mortality of the soul from Aristotle to John McDowell.