Philosophical Archaeology

With and Beyond Agamben on Philosophy, History, and Art

By Ido Govrin

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Italian Studies, Historiography, Art, Cultural Studies, Aesthetics
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438491578, 206 pages, January 2023
Paperback : 9781438491585, 206 pages, July 2023

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Table of contents


1. The History of Philosophical Archaeology from Kant to Agamben

2. Toward Agamben’s Philosophy of History

3. Ar[t]chaeology


Explores the potential for a novel philosophy of history to be uncovered by tracing the connections between Giorgio Agamben's work (theoretical practice) and contemporary art (artistic practice).


Offering, for the first time, a full historicized accounting of philosophical archaeology, Ido Govrin delineates how this overarching method of historical inquiry has today become associated, to a large extent, with the work of Giorgio Agamben—and how it constitutes Agamben’s philosophy of history in particular. As befits a book situated at an intellectual crossroads that brings together a range of discourses—philosophy, history, aesthetics, theology, and philology—Govrin conceives of philosophical archaeology as a multifaceted concept, on a broad scale. The discussion slides along the length of the multilateral fault line and into the related fields of contemporary art and art history/theory. In doing so, it illuminates the potential for philosophical archaeology, as an artistic modus operandi in the broader context of contemporary art, to expand our conception of history and historiographic research, and for this sense of history to expand our conception of art, in turn. At stake in this consideration is the possibility of a new, materially based philosophy of history.

Ido Govrin is a scholar and multidisciplinary artist.


"Meticulously researched, and engaging with the entire corpus of Giorgio Agamben's work, Ido Govrin's book excavates the historical and textual origins of the notion of philosophical archaeology. The book has the immense merit of seriously exploring the precise place of Walter Benjamin—and by extension a certain Jewish tradition—in Agamben's thought. Additionally, it attempts the difficult task of determining aesthetics' role in the economy of his work. Govrin also contributes an impressive explication of Agamben's theory of time." — Michael Lewis, coeditor of The Bloomsbury Italian Philosophy Reader