I am an Irish Research Council Marie Sklodowska Curie research fellow at University College Dublin’s School of Philosophy. Before coming to UCD, I held research and teaching positions at Winchester, Nottingham and Roehampton in the UK, at University College Cork in Ireland, and at the University of Tokyo and Temple University in Japan.
I was born into a Danish and Japanese-speaking family in the Danish-German borderland. I grew up in India, Kenya, Japan, and Denmark and read politics and anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. I moved to London to study for an M.Sc. at the School of Oriental and African Studies and spent 16 years there, which is the longest I have lived in one country. London is where I met and married my wife and where our children were born. In 2010 I crossed the Irish Sea for a PhD with Graham Parkes of University College Cork and David Williams of Cardiff University. It was awarded summa cum laude in January 2014. From 2015-2017 I worked with Nakajima Takahiro at the University of Tokyo and taught at Temple University Japan.
Having grown up speaking Danish, Japanese, English and German, plus some Tamil and Kiswahili, I worked as a translator and interpreter for much of my professional life. Although this was more by chance than design, it has fed into my research methods and informed my theoretical concerns with questions of language, culture, subjectivity, and meaning in political thought and practice. I still occasionally work as a translator and subtitler.
The focus of my intellectual interests has moved over the years from the theory and history of international politics to cross-culturally comparative political thought. The primary focus of my research is the political thought of the Kyoto School of philosophy, especially its second generation and left wing. I have also published on the politics of language and I maintain an interest in questions of language, political power, and knowledge. I intend to explore this further in a project on the philosophical consequences of the spread of imperial linguae franca, such as English in recent times and Latin, Chinese and Arabic in the past. I also have an old interest in Asianism and an emerging one in Japanese bioethics.