Director

Samir Gandesha gandesha@sfu.ca
Director, Institute for the Humanities 
Professor, Department of Humanities

I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and immigrated with my parents as an infant to Canada in the mid-1960s. Members of my extended family were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972 and entered Britain as refugees. There, they were confronted by an ascendant xenophobic, racist far-right in the form of the National Front and British Movement. This traumatic period had a profound impact on how I view questions of hospitality, refuge, exile, identity, and politics more generally. After spending some time in the interior of B.C., my family moved to Vancouver, where I grew up. 

As an undergraduate, I studied at SFU, UBC, and the London School of Economics. I did my MA and PhD at York University in Toronto, where I worked with Ato Sekyi-Otu, Christian Lenhardt, and Asher Horowitz. I spent two years on a SSHRCC post-doctoral fellowship in history at the University of California at Berkeley, working with Martin Jay. Upon returning, I started teaching at Centennial College in Toronto before spending two years as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at Universität Potsdam, working with Christoph Menke in 2001–2002. I have been teaching at SFU since 2003, and have been on the Steering Committee of the Institute for the Humanities since 2004 and its director since 2010. 

I am the author of numerous refereed articles in top-tier journals, chapters in edited volumes, and encyclopedia entries. I am also co-editor with Lars Rensmann of Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford, 2012) and co-editor (with Johan Hartle) of Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (University of Amsterdam Press, 2017) and Aesthetic Marx (Bloomsbury Press, 2017), also with Johan Hartle.  

More recently, I have edited Spectres of Fascism: Historical, Theoretical and International Perspectives (Pluto, 2020), and co-edited (with Peyman Vahabzadeh) Crossing Borders: Essays in Honour of Ian H. Angus, Beyond Phenomenology and Critique (Arbeiter Ring, 2020).

I write regularly for popular audiences in publications such as openDemocracyArt PapersCanadian DimensionEspace Art ActuelTruthout, the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, and the Los Angeles Review of Books

In the Spring of 2017, I was the Liu Boming Visiting Scholar in Philosophy at the University of Nanjing and Visiting Lecturer at Suzhou University of Science and Technology in the People's Republic of China. In January 2019, I was Visiting Fellow at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe and, in February of the same year, Visiting Lecturer at Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas - FFLCH-USP (Universidade de São Paulo). 

I have delivered some 100 lectures and presentations at universities and public venues around the world. 

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