Events Schedule

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Past events

The Grief Project Christmas Lecture

Ian Kidd (University of Nottingham)
Philosophy Department Seminar Room, Sally Baldwin Buildings (I/A/009). Also Zoom:


This talk explores the relationship between grief and pessimism. In the first part I endorse the Grief Project’s claims that (1) experiences of grief are primarily concerned with lost possibilities and (2) grief extends to many kinds of non-bereavement losses, including those associated with chronic illness and disruptive social events. These claims suggest that human life is suffused with a sense of actual, unfolding and impending loss, which is connected to the fragility of ourselves, other people and our relationships, and the social and environmental conditions on which that life depends. In the second part of the talk, I suggest that something like this inchoate sense of loss is expressed, however indirectly, in certain philosophical doctrines, an obvious candidate being pessimism. I consider two contrasting conceptions of pessimism: one that construes pessimism as a response to particular and contingent personal or social events, and another which sees it as a response to entrenched and ubiquitous features of the human condition. Construed in this second way, pessimism can become a more compelling stance on the human condition. 


Mince pies will be served!



Self-Envy, Grief, and Nostalgia

Lucy Osler
Room B/B/103 (Biology Building) Also Zoom:

Abstract: Envy is typically understood as a painful emotion experienced when we perceive ourselves to be lacking something that matters to us and which another person has. It arises out of negative social comparison and is typically deemed to be essentially other-directed. Envy is also associated with a range of other emotions that accompany, even mask, it - such as shame, anger, and love (e.g., Protasi 2021). I am interested in exploring two ways in which we might expand our discussions of envy. First, by suggesting that, contra popular definitions of envy, envy need not be directed at another person but can, in certain circumstances, be self-directed. I outline three kinds of self-envy, directed at: (1) one's past self, (2) one's future self, and (3) counterfactual versions of one's self. Second, having argued for the notion of 'self-envy', I explore how this reveals envy's entanglement with other emotions such as grief and nostalgia.

Speaker: Lucy Osler is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Cardiff University in the School of English, Communications and Philosophy. She specialises in phenomenological and 4E approaches to online sociality, embodiment, intersubjectivity, affectivity, and psychopathology.

Grief, Aesthetics, and Emotion Regulation: A Workshop

University of York, Berrick Saul Building BS/104 (The Treehouse) - in-person only

This workshop is part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Grief: A Study of Human Emotional Experience’. The workshop will focus on themes in Kathleen Higgins' forthcoming book Aesthetics in Grief and Mourning (University of Chicago Press, 2024). Speakers will explore some of the ways in which aesthetic practices shape and regulate the experience of grief and its course over time.

Full programme:

10.30: Tea and coffee
11.00-12.30: Kathleen Higgins (University of Texas at Austin) — 'Grief, Existential Homelessness, and Aesthetic Practices'
12.30-1.30: Buffet lunch
1.30-2.30: Joel Krueger (University of Exeter) — 'The Aesthetics of "Grief Tech"' 
2.30-3.00: Tea and coffee
3.00-4.00: Ulrika Maude (University of Bristol) — 'Grievous Loss: Literature and the Phenomenology of Mourning'
4.00-4.30: Tea and coffee
4.30-5.30: Jussi Saarinen (University of Jyväskylä) — 'Grieving through Painting'

Parental grief and cultural differences: The case of a brain dead daughter in Japan

Professor Masahiro Morioka (Waseda University, Tokyo)​
Room I/A/009, Sally Baldwin Buildings, Campus West, University of York​​ - In-person event

The Phenomenology of Loss: A Two-Day Workshop​

Room BS/104 Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, University of York​

We are said to experience “loss” in a variety of circumstances, including bereavement, the breakup of a relationship, loss of a home or job, chronic illness, and serious injury. Feelings of loss can also relate to missed opportunities, lost possibilities, the failure to become someone or something, and conditions such as chronic loneliness and depression. This workshop sets out to explore the phenomenology of loss in all its complexity and diversity. Issues to be addressed include whether and how grief over a death differs phenomenologically from wider experiences of loss, whether any features are shared by all forms of loss, how loss relates to absence and emptiness, the emotional character of loss, the objects of loss experiences, the extent to which human lives are shaped by a sense of loss, and whether certain kinds of loss are insufficiently acknowledged.

This workshop is part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Grief: A Study of Human Emotional Experience’.

Confirmed Speakers: 
Matthew Ratcliffe (University of York)
Allan Køster (Aalborg University)
Eleanor Byrne (Linköping University)
Emily Hughes (University of York) 
Jake Dorothy (University of York)
Yochai Ataria (Tel Hai College)
Joel Krueger (Exeter)
Tom Roberts (Exeter)
Axel Seeman (Bentley University)
Jan Slaby (Freie Universität Berlin)
Kym Maclaren (Toronto Metropolitan University)
Fredrick Svenaeus (Södertörn University)

Narratives of death, grief and loss during Covid-19: An open thanatology project

Dr Erica Borgstrom (Open University)

Affective injustice from anger gaslighting to grief gaslighting

Dr Shiloh Whitney (Fordham University)
Room B/T/019, Biology, Campus West, University of York​

Grief and Hope: Exploring the pastoral nature of Christian funeral rites

Dr Catherine Reid (University of York Chaplain)
Room BS/104 Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, University of York​

Traumatic Grief

Dr Linda Finlay (Open University)
Room AEW/003, Alcuin East Wing, Campus West, University of York

The Limits of Grief: A One-Day Workshop​

Room SB/A009, Sally Baldwin Buildings, Campus West, University of York

Speakers will investigate the scope and temporal structure of grief. Why does grief change over time in the way that it does? How wide-ranging are the causes and objects of grief? Who and what has the capacity to experience grief?

10:30–10:50  Tea and Coffee 
10:50–11:00   Introduction: Matthew Ratcliffe (University of York)
11:00–12:00   Can Animals Grieve?: Becky Millar (University of York)
12:00–13:00   Empathy and Psychopaths’ Inability to Grieve:  Michael Cholbi (University of Edinburgh)
13:00–14:00    Lunch
14:00–15:00    On the Temporality of Grief: Berislav Marušić (University of Edinburgh) 
15:00–15:30    Tea/ coffee
15:30–16:30    Grief over Non-death Losses: Louise Richardson and Matthew Ratcliffe (University of York) 
16:30–17:00    Concluding Reflections: What Can Philosophers Tell Us About Grief?: Linda Finlay (Integrative Psychotherapist and Academic Consultant)
17:00  Close