Samir Gandesha

Director, Institute for the Humanities


Research interests

  • Politics and aesthetics
  • Critical Theory and phenomenology
  • Authoritarianism and populism
  • Psychoanalysis


  • PhD, Political Science, York University
  • MA, Political Science, York University
  • BA, International Relations, University of British Columbia



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. 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 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at Universität Potsdam. 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. Read the full biography on the Institute for the Humanities website.

Current Works

Recent books: 

Spectres of Fascism: Historical, Theoretical and Contemporary Perspectives (Pluto Books, 2020)

Crossing Borders: Essays in Honour of Ian H. Angus, Beyond Phenomenology and Critique (ARP Books, 2020)

A comprehensive list of publications and activities can be found on Dr. Gandesha's faculty website.

Graduate supervision


Politics and aesthetics; Critical Theory and phenomenology; authoritarianism and populism; and psychoanalysis. Also open to supervising other subjects. 


Crossing Borders: Essays in Honour of Ian H. Angus (ARP Books: June 2020) Co-edited with Peyman Vahabzadeh.

Spectres of Fascism: Historical, Theoretical and International Perspectives (Pluto Books: 2020). Edited by Samir Gandesha. 

Adorno and Popular Music: A Constellation of Perspectives  (Mimesis Press: forthcoming 2020) Co-edited with Stefano Marino and Colin J. Campbell 

Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (Amsterdam, 2017) Co-edited with Johan Hartle 

Aesthetic Marx (Bloomsbury, 2017) Co-edited with Johan Hartle. Italian translation in preparation. 

Adorno and Arendt: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford, 2011) Co-edited with Lars Rensmann. 

Popular Publications

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