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Benjamin Chwistek


Title of research

Violent critiques of liberalism: Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin

Brief overview of research topic

Benjamin's research focuses on the way in which three thinkers - Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt and Walter Benjamin - conceive of violence as a means of critique. The purpose of the thesis is to explore the ways in which a number of critical social and political theorists used violence and militarism as a means through which to define and test the limits of liberal democratic states and the nature of the individual therein

Ben completed his PhD in 2018.


MA in Political Philosophy (Distinction) University of York

BA in Modern and Contemporary History (First Class Honours) University of London

Conferences etc

Presented on 'Carl Schmitt: Violence and the Political', at JUDGEPOL 2015 Summer School on Political Violence at University of Edinburgh

Presented to White Rose Legacies of War network on:

  • ‘Georges Sorel and Violence’ (University of Leeds, October 2015)
  • 'Carl Schmitt's Critique of Modernity' (University of York, March 2015)
  • 'Violent critiques of liberalism: Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin' (University of Sheffield, October 2014)

Paper presented (in absentia) on ‘Modern European Democracy’, to Greece and Democracy Roundtable Discussion (University of Leeds, August, 2015)

Presented at Quilting Points, reading group and seminar series (University of Leeds), on:

  • 'Stuart Hall and Marx' (December 2015)
  • 'Hardt and Negri on Biopower' (February 2015)
  • 'Foucault and Biopower' (January 2015)
  • 'Foucault and the Subject' (October 2014)

Presented at Performa, reading group (University of Leeds), on:

  • ‘Judith Butler and Violence’ (December 2015)

Panel chair at University of Leeds Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference (June 2015), on 'Symbols and Metaphors'. Chair for 'Symbols and Metaphors in Philosophy'.

Panel chair at University of Leeds Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference (June 2014), on 'Conflict: Causes, Chaos and Resolutions'. Chair for 'Modern Conflict'.

Awarded Department of Politics Prize for MA in Political Philosophy at University of York 


Seminar Tutor for History of Political Thought (2nd year undergraduate module)

Seminar Tutor for Introduction to Political Theory (1st year undergraduate course)


'Impact Working Group' – Postgraduate representative for School of Languages, Cultures and Societies (University of Leeds, May 2015 - present)

Co-Director, Quilting Points - interdisciplinary reading group and seminar series, Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds. Theme: Michel Foucault on biopower and the subject. (September 2014 – June 2015)

Editorial Assistant at Locke Studies, March 2016 - present

Benjamin is supervised by Professor Matthew Festenstein and Dr Elizabeth Pender

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Contact details

Mr Benjamin Chwistek

In October 2016, Ben hosted a colloquium on Myth, Violence and Unreason in the History of Political Thought  at the University of York.