Senior LecturerDepartment of Languages and
About Zlatan Filipovic
I came to Sweden as a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s and have studied English, theoretical philosophy and art and visual studies at several universities in both Sweden and abroad. I am now Associate Professor in English and Comparative Literature and have worked as a Senior Lecturer and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in English at the University of Gothenburg since 2010. I obtained my Master of Research degree at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where I also completed my doctoral studies in English and Comparative Literature in 2009.
Core Values in Teaching and Learning
In my opinion, the classroom should serve as an open forum for active and formative debate and exchange of ideas, a forum that tears down walls and transcends, rather than reinforces, established frames of reference and mechanical perceptive dogmas. It is in particular the communicative aspect, the dialogue and interaction between students, teachers and texts, that I believe opens up for effective and sustainable teaching and learning. A multicultural classroom characterised by a radical pluralism in terms of class, gender and ethnicity, each with a significant voice in the systematisation of knowledge, is only possible in a pedagogical milieu that enables polyphony of experience.
It is not consensus but rather dissensus that powers learning, and critical self-awareness. In other words, I may only develop if there is another who claims ownership of my world and places me in question.
A pedagogical approach is thus always already an ethical approach that presupposes an openness and respect for an other’s singular attestation of humanity and specific historical conditions. This is what constitutes a basis for change in our world and change is always affirmative.
Kafka’s analogy in his letter to Oscar Pollock where literature should ‘wound and stab us… affect us like a disaster’ may serve as a suitable metaphor for learning. Because, like literature, learning should also be ‘an axe against the frozen sea within us.’
In terms of specific courses, my teaching covers a broad repertoire with a focus on courses in literature and theory, pivoting on modernism, post-modernism and contemporary intellectual currents such as poststructuralism and deconstruction which inform our understanding of literature, texts and culture.
My research concerns mainly topoi opened up by postmodernism and in particular literary theory after the poststructuralist turn in the 70s, which arguably liberates literature from the constrains of formalism, universalism and liberal humanism. However, my research interest ranges across the entire spectrum of literary theory and related philosophical concerns upon which our understanding of literature and culture is based. The encounter between literature and philosophy ha always been a gravitational pivot of my work and it remains a critically vibrant, rich and complex research field.
Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot, Emmanuel Levinas and the strong influence of continental philosophy on our understanding of the significance of language for social and cultural practice are of critical importance in my research. My latest project considers ethical approaches to subjectivity and otherness in Levinas’s writing and how they may be manifested in modern literature, which in turn can help us better understand and re-assess the ways by which identity and otherness are constructed in modern day societies.