Philosophy Under Occupation: Technology, Labour, Persecution


Philosophy Under Occupation: Technology, Labour, Persecution


“The incredible encirclement of man was prepared long ago by the theories that aim at giving a flawless logical explanation of the world and that march in lockstep with the development of technology.”

More than 20 years after Ernst Jünger’s death in 1998, the German philosopher’s work has proven disturbingly prescient. Only last year, Jünger’s diaries as an officer in occupied Paris in World War II were published in English to wide acclaim. These intimate accounts, of high literary and philosophical quality, reveal Jünger negotiating compliance with acts of subversion and resistance against the Nazi regime. Perhaps Jünger’s appeal and ongoing popularity is that of the escape artist: an unlikely survivor emerging from the slaughter of WWI trench-warfare, the siege of WWII totalitarianism, and later of the pensée unique of post-war liberalism. His life – and those of others in comparable situations – appear as evidence that history is both real and unrealistic.

This symposium aims to investigate the nature of the diverse strategies that have emerged from confronting and surviving the monstrous avatars of a totalising technological force.


  • Associate Professor Birgit Lang
    Associate Professor Birgit Lang, Associate Professor of German Studies
  • Associate Professor Justin Clemens
    Associate Professor Justin Clemens, School of Culture and Communication
  • Dr Giles Fielke
    Dr Giles Fielke, The University of Melbourne
  • Mr Nicolas  Hausdorf
  • Dr Marilyn Stendera
    Dr Marilyn Stendera, Sessional Academic