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Sarah Flavel

Personal statement

Sarah Flavel is Reader in Asian and Comparative Philosophy at Bath Spa University. She obtained her PhD as an Irish Research Council Scholar at University College Cork, where she researched the relationship between the thought of the Japanese Kyoto School philosopher Nishitani Keiji and the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

She is Academic Director of the International Academy for Chinese Thought and Culture, a collaborative summer school in China with Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University and Fudan University as part of the Global Academy of Liberal Arts. Her research expertise lies in continental European and East Asian philosophies, in particular Daoism and Buddhism.

Her main teaching interests are in the history of Classical Chinese Philosophy (Confucianism, Daoism and Chinese Buddhism), Japanese Buddhist philosophy, the history of European Philosophy (especially German 19th and 20th century thought) and comparative and continental aesthetics.

Sarah serves as Associate Editor for Comparative and Continental Philosophy (Taylor and Francis Journals) and is a Board Officer of the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, one of the largest international societies dedicated to the study of global philosophy.

The CCPC hosts yearly conferences across Asia, Europe, North, and South America and is dedicated to supporting a pluralist vision of philosophy at regional and international levels. 

Sarah has worked as an editor for translations of contemporary Chinese scholars in Philosophy into English including Professor Chen Guying (PKU), Professor Yang Guorong (East China Normal) and most recently, Prof Peng Feng (Curator and Head of Art at PKU). 

Current research

Her current research explores the history of Chinese philosophy in comparative context, with a special focus on Daoist thought. She has published work in leading philosophy journals including Philosophy East and West and The Journal of Nietzsche Studies. She has been invited to give lectures at various national and international Universities including The University of Warwick, Royal Holloway, East China Normal University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Kennesaw State University (USA), Ovidius University (Romania), Pomeo Fabra University (Spain) and Peking University. In 2017 she was awarded the Peking University Humanities Grant as a visiting researcher at Peking University Department of Philosophy. She is currently lead co-investigator on a project on the 'Aesthetics of Style' with Dr Ouyang Xiao at Wuhan University. 

She is currently working on a co-edited volume for Bloomsbury Academy Press as well as new articles on Chinese aesthetics and Chinese political philosophy.

Bath Spa engagement

Sarah is founder and host of the Bath Spa Annual Colloquium for Global Philosophy and Religion. She has hosted a number of conferences for external academic societies including The Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, The Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and The Friedrich Nietzsche Society. 

She serves as a member of the Bath Spa University Scholarships Board and is an academic representative on The Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee and Excellence in Research Working Group. She is a Fellow of the HEA and external examiner for MAs in Continental Philosophy at Royal Holloway. 

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Philosophy - University College Cork (The National University of Ireland), 2015
  • Research Project Year - Bard College, Berlin (ECLA), 2010
  • MA Continental Philosophy - The University of Warwick 2009
  • BA Philosophy - The University of Warwick, 2008

Professional qualifications

  • Fellow - HEA 

Professional memberships

  • Académie de Midi
  • The Friedrich Nietzsche Society
  • The Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle
  • The Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy 

Other external roles

  • External Examiner, MA Continental Philosophy - Royal Holloway 

Teaching specialisms

  • Continental Philosophy
  • Comparative Philosophy
  • East Asian Philosophy 

Research supervision

Sarah welcomes contact from students and graduates who may be looking for advice and information on postgraduate study and funding in the areas of East-Asian Philosophy and Religion and/or in European thought.

As Director of Studies:

  • David Elroy, "Examining the Buddhist Awakened Mind Through the Lens of Contemporary Western Theories of Consciousness" (PhD candidate) 
  • Benny Henning, "An Analysis and Evaluation of Daoist and Zen Buddhist Methods for Overcoming the Conceptual Self" (MPhil candidate)

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

Differences in identity in philosophy and religion: a cross-cultural approach
book

Azadpour, L, Flavel, S and Re Manning, R, eds. (2020) Differences in identity in philosophy and religion: a cross-cultural approach. Bloomsbury, London. ISBN 9781350076501 (Forthcoming)


The humanist spirit of Daoism [by Chen Guying, trans. by Hans-Georg Moeller]
book

Jones, D and Flavel, S, eds. (2018) The humanist spirit of Daoism [by Chen Guying, trans. by Hans-Georg Moeller]. Brill, Leiden. ISBN 9789004361973


On human action and practical wisdom [by Yang Guorong, trans. by P.J D'Ambrosio and Sarah Flavel]
book

Guorong, Y, D'Ambrosio, P.J and Flavel, S (2016) On human action and practical wisdom [by Yang Guorong, trans. by P.J D'Ambrosio and Sarah Flavel]. Brill. ISBN 9789004321779


独处中的陪伴:论尼采与庄子的独处、友谊与修养 [Companionships in solitude: solitude, friendship and self-cultivation in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi]
book_section

Flavel, S (2018) '独处中的陪伴:论尼采与庄子的独处、友谊与修养 [Companionships in solitude: solitude, friendship and self-cultivation in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi].' In: Guying, C, ed. 道家文化研究 [Taoist Cultural Studies], 31. Zhuonghua Book Company, Beijing. ISBN 9787101129984


State maternalism: rethinking anarchist readings of the Daodejing 道德經
article

Flavel, S and Hall, B (2020) 'State maternalism: rethinking anarchist readings of the Daodejing 道德經.' Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy. ISSN 1540-3009 (Forthcoming)


Drawing the Dao: reflections on the application of Daoist theory of action in contemporary drawing practice
article

Flavel, S and Luzar, R (2019) 'Drawing the Dao: reflections on the application of Daoist theory of action in contemporary drawing practice.' Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, 4 (1). pp. 11-27. ISSN 2057-0384


Affirming fate and incorporating death: the role of amor fati in Nishitani's 'Religion and nothingness'
article

Flavel, S (2017) 'Affirming fate and incorporating death: the role of amor fati in Nishitani's 'Religion and nothingness'.' Philosophy East and West, 67 (4). pp. 1248-1272. ISSN 1529-1898


Nishitani's Nietzsche: Will to Power and the Moment
article

Flavel, S (2015) 'Nishitani's Nietzsche: Will to Power and the Moment.' Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 46 (1). pp. 12-24. ISSN 1538-4594


Nihilism and comparative philosophy
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Flavel, S (2016) Nihilism and comparative philosophy. In: International Seminar: Religious Dimensions of Man in the Horizon of Contemporary Challenges, 4-6 June 2016, Vatra Dornei, Romania.


Between solitude and communication in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi
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Flavel, S (2016) Between solitude and communication in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi. In: Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue in a Pluralistic World: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives, 1 - 2 June 2016, Oviidius University, Constanta, Romania.


Imagined others: companionships of solitude in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi
conference_item

Flavel, S (2016) Imagined others: companionships of solitude in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi. In: Imagination East and West: Academie Du Midi - 21st Symposium, 16 -20 May 2016, Alet-les-Bains, France.


Time, and the historicity of human existence in Nishitani’s 'Religion and nothingness'
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Flavel, S (2015) Time, and the historicity of human existence in Nishitani’s 'Religion and nothingness'. In: The 10th Annual Meeting of The Comparative & Continental Philosophy Circle, 14-17 May 2015, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Nietzsche and active nihilism: why it’s good to be a nihilist
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Flavel, S (2015) Nietzsche and active nihilism: why it’s good to be a nihilist. In: Mike Ryan Lecture Series, 19 February 2015, Kennesaw State University.


Anti-essentialism in early Buddhist philosophy
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Flavel, S (2015) Anti-essentialism in early Buddhist philosophy. In: Philosophy Society Guest Lecture Series, 15 January 2015, University of Warwick, Coventry.


Amor fati and emptiness: Nietzsche and Nishitani on the indifference of nature and the remedy of indifferent love
conference_item

Flavel, S (2014) Amor fati and emptiness: Nietzsche and Nishitani on the indifference of nature and the remedy of indifferent love. In: 20th International Conference Friedrich Nietzsche Society, 11-13 September 2014, University of Birmingham, UK..


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