Dr Simone Kotva
BA, MPhil, PhD
Affiliated lecturer, Faculty of Divinity
I grew up in Sweden, where I attended Lilla Akademien, the Stockholm Junior College of Music. I was educated at Emmanuel College, where I studied for the BA in Theology and Religious Studies, followed by the M.Phil. in Philosophical Theology. I began my doctoral work in 2011, also at Emmanuel College, where I was a Gates Scholar. Upon completing my Ph.D. in 2015 I spent the spring semester of 2016 teaching at the Institute for Literature, Intellectual History and Religion at the University of Gothenburg, where I lectured in Systematic Theology, Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. My research has addressed philosophies of life, primarily in nineteenth-century continental thought, and their rapprochement with contemporary revivals of vitalism, Naturphilosophie and, most recently, environmental criticism.
My doctoral dissertation discovered and explored the connections between vitalism, natural philosophy and Stoicism which transpire in the school of French philosophy known as ‘spiritualism’, particularly in the work of Félix Ravaisson, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Émile Chartier (Alain) and Simone Weil. In my current research I have turned my attention to the critical reception of vitalism and natural philosophy in Victorian and Edwardian ‘country writing’, focussing on Richard Jefferies, W. H. Hudson and Edward Thomas. This research forms part of a larger investigation into the varieties of field writing employed in historical but also contemporary observations of the environment, in the UK and abroad, and the nascent spiritual idioms evinced in the styles adopted in these forms of writing. At present, for instance, I am finishing a short piece on Simone Weil and her influence on the nature poetry of Thomas A. Clark.
Before moving to England in 2007 I divided my time between Stockholm, the capitol of Sweden, and Öland, the second largest of the nation’s two Baltic islands. My family, however, is originally from the far north, near the border with Finland and Russia, and I maintain ties with the landscape and culture of North Bothnia. I have also enjoyed exploring the northern reaches of the United Kingdom, though I have yet to reach the Shetland Islands.