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School of English and Drama

Dr Molly Macdonald, BA (Barnard) MA (UEA) PhD (QMUL)


Senior Lecturer in Literary and Critical Theory | Co-Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5837
Room Number: ArtsOne 3.18B


I grew up and went to school in America, in the state of Maine, and moved to New York City to attend Barnard College, Columbia University, where I earned a BA in English Literature.  I worked in publishing in New York and then completed an MA in Modernism at the University of East Anglia in 2002, writing a dissertation on Virginia Woolf, Hegel, and Freud. I then moved back to Brooklyn and worked for the New York affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2004, I moved from Brooklyn to London to begin my PhD on Hegel, his reception in the 20th Century, and psychoanalysis at Queen Mary.  I became a permanent member of staff at QM in 2012.


Research Interests:

  • Psychoanalysis
  • Literary and Critical Theory
  • Continental Philosophy
  • Intersubjectivity Studies
  • Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literature

Recent and On-Going Research:

I am currently working on a project about the concept of 'inertia' and a constellation of ideas stemming from it (e.g. psychic inertia, writer's block, hoarding, and the ethics and politics of individual and communal inertia). My focus thus far is on the origins and elaborations

of the concept from Newton through the nineteenth century and in tracing its transmutation in the twentieth and twenty-first century through psychoanalytic theory, philosophy and literature.

The major focus of my recent research is the concept of intersubjectivity, which I approach in an interdisciplinary manner, drawing from twentieth-century literature, critical and literary theory, psychoanalysis, and in my current research, aspects of cognitive science. My monograph, Hegel and Psychoanalysis: A New Interpretation of 'Phenomenology of Spirit' was published in 2013 and in paperback in 2016 (Routledge). The book examines Hegel's philosophy, through the lens of his reception in the 20th Century, and argues for a reading of his work alongside psychoanalytic theory, with a focus on the work of André Green and Christopher Bollas. I explore, in particular, the concepts Force, binding, intersubjectivity, and 'thirdness'. I’ve also written on the relationship between art and philosophy - ‘Futures that Haunt Presents: On the Work of Mark Boulos and the Spirit(s) of Marxism’, Belkin Art Gallery Journal, (University of British Columbia, 2012) - and on the work of Catherine Malabou - New Formations, 2012.



  • Hegel and Psychoanalysis: A New Interpretation of Phenomenology of Spirit (Routledge, 2013; paperback 2016, 227 pages)

Selected Publications

  • From Recognition to Intersubjectivity’, in Richard Gipps & Michael Lacewing (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • ‘The biosocial genome?: Interdisciplinary perspectives on environmental epigenetics, health and society,’ EMBO rep, 18: 1677–1682 (2017). Co-authored: Müller, R., Hanson, C., Hanson, M., Penkler, M., Samaras, G., Chiapperino, L., Dupré, J., Kenney, M., Kuzawa, C., Latimer, J., Lloyd, S., Lunkes, A., Macdonald, M., Meloni, M., Nerlich, B., Panese, F., Pickersgill, M., Richardson, S., Rüegg, J., Schmitz, S., Stelmach, A. and Villa, [5% of contribution]
  • ‘Hegel, Psychoanalysis and Intersubjectivity’, Philosophy Compass 6 (July 2011), 448–458
  • ‘"Suturing" as a Concept-Metaphor,' Parallax 17.3 (July 2011), 46-55
  • ‘Resisting Deconstruction: On Catherine Malabou’s Changing Difference’, New Formations 77 (Autumn 2012), 209-213
  • ‘Futures that Haunt the Present: On the Work of Mark Boulos and the Spirit(s) of Marxism’, Mark Boulos. (Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia, 2012). Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia, 8 October to 5 December 2010
  • ‘Regarding Pain’, Critical Review of Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag, Saint Anne’s Review, (New York, 2004)


See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.

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