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Martin Hägglund

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Martin Hägglund
Born23 November 1976 (1976-11-23) (age 47)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy, literature, and politics

Martin Hägglund (born 23 November 1976) is a Swedish philosopher[2] and scholar of modernist literature.[3] He is the Birgit Baldwin Professor of Humanities at Yale University.[4] He is also a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows,[5] serving as a Junior Fellow from 2009 to 2012. Hägglund is the author of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (2019), Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov (2012), Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life (2008), and Kronofobi: Essäer om tid och ändlighet (Chronophobia: Essays on Time and Finitude, 2002). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018[6] and won the René Wellek Prize in 2020.[7] In 2024 Hägglund was awarded Jan Myrdal’s big prize – The Lenin Award.[8]



This Life (2019)


In This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (2019), Hägglund pursues a critique of the religious ideal of eternity and reconceives faith in secular terms as the fundamental form of practical commitment. Through new interpretations of G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Martin Luther King Jr., Hägglund develops the social and political stakes of his analysis of our temporal existence, arguing that labor under capitalism alienates us from our finite lifetime. Calling for a revaluation of our values, Hägglund presents a vision of democratic socialism as a post-capitalist form of life in which we could truly own our time and recognize our shared freedom.

Dying for Time (2012)


Dying for Time offers new readings of the problem of temporality in the writings of Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and Vladimir Nabokov. Through an engagement with Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, Hägglund also develops an original theory of the relation between time and desire ("chronolibido"), addressing mourning and melancholia, pleasure and pain, attachment and loss.

Radical Atheism (2008)


Radical Atheism is a major intervention in deconstruction, offering a novel account of Jacques Derrida's thinking of time and space, life and death, good and evil, self and other. As Hägglund argues, all our commitments presuppose an investment in and care for finite life. Developing a deconstructive account of time, Hägglund shows how Derrida rethinks the constitution of identity, ethics, religion, and political emancipation in accordance with the condition of temporal finitude.

Personal Life


(Hans Martin) Hägglund, was born November 23, 1976 in Sollentuna parish, Stockholm county and grew up in Viksjö in Järfälla municipality and the High Coast. His ancestors were peasants and farmers originating in northern Sweden, where he makes a visit every summer.

In what has been described as "a historic appointment",[9] in 2012 he became the first person to receive a lifetime professorship at Yale University immediately after receiving his PhD. Since 2015, he has headed the department of comparative literature at the university.

He is the first Swede to be elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows.[10]

On June 11, 2021, the music album 'Distractions In a Capitalist World' by artist and composer Teodor Wolgers was released, with Hägglund appearing on the track 'System Failure' with a narration from his book "This Life".[11]

He has a sister named Karin Hägglund,[12] sometimes referred to as one of Sweden's most accomplished karate practitioners, with five national championships and three Nordic titles.[13] Karin holds a Master's degree in Health Promotion from Karolinska Institutet and is currently pursuing a PhD in Sustainable High Performance Coaching at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences.[14][15] In 2014, she experienced the loss of her husband of many years to cancer after a year and a half of battling the illness.[16] This tragic experience may have deepened Martin's engagement with the concepts of time and finitude, prompting a shift in focus towards embracing life's fragility in a secular context in order to live a good life.[17]

He is married (August 28th 2021) to Alisa Zhulina (of Russian/Soviet background), artist-scholar, Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, and the Director of Theatre Studies in the Department of Drama. The couple welcomed their first child (Mathilda Natalia Hägglund (Матюшa)) in April 2022.[18]


  • This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, Pantheon Books, 2019.
  • Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.
  • Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life, Stanford: Stanford University Press, Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics, 2008.
  • Kronofobi: Essäer om tid och ändlighet (Chronophobia: Essays on Time and Finitude), Stockholm/Stehag: Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion, 2002.


  1. ^ "How to be a Marxist".
  2. ^ Brown, Nathan (2019). "The Revival of Hegelian Marxism: On Martin Hägglund's This Life". Radical Philosophy (206): 34–42.
  3. ^ "Terror and Beauty: Martin Hägglunds Dying for Time". 5 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Hägglund named Baldwin Professor at Yale". 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2010-04-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Martin Hägglund".
  7. ^ "Professor Martin Hägglund wins the prestigious René Wellek Prize | Department of Comparative Literature".
  8. ^ "Filosof får Leninpriset". www.aftonbladet.se (in Swedish). 2024-05-19. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  9. ^ ""Allt handlar om vad vi gör med vår ändliga tid tillsammans"". DN.SE (in Swedish). 2019-11-22.
  10. ^ "Yale University - The Humanities Program - Martin Hägglund". Yale University. 2019-11-29.
  11. ^ "System Failure". Spotify. 2021-06-11.
  12. ^ Hägglund, Karin (8 September 2021). "Förord av min bror Martin Hägglund i kommande pocketutgåva!". karinhagglund.com. Retrieved 24 February 2024. Förord av min bror Martin Hägglund i kommande pocketutgåva!
  13. ^ Hägglund, Karin. "Min historia". karinhagglund.com. Retrieved 24 February 2024. Jag kallas ibland en av Sveriges mest meriterade karateutövare." and "Femfaldig svensk mästarinna och trefaldig nordisk mästarinna i karate.
  14. ^ Hägglund, Karin. "Min historia". karinhagglund.com. Retrieved 24 February 2024. Magisterexamen inom Hälsofrämjande arbete från Karolinska Institutet.
  15. ^ Hägglund, Karin. "PhD-student in Sustainable high performance coaching". twitter.com. Retrieved 24 February 2024. @gihsweden (Bio)
  16. ^ Hägglund, Karin. "Min historia". karinhagglund.com. Retrieved 24 February 2024. Men i februari 2014 förändrades allt. Peter gick bort i cancer efter 1 ½ år av sjukdom som gett ytterligare en skärpa i livet. Vi hade gått igenom våra liv, vad gör vi om dagarna, hur spenderar vi vår tid? Men det hade också varit en mardrömstid med kast mellan hopp och förtvivlan, jagande efter halmstrån för att hitta vägar för att stoppa cancern.
  17. ^ The timing is exact: Hägglund started working on the book in 2013. Norcia, Alex (March 21, 2019). "This Philosopher Says We Should Replace Religion with Socialism". vice.com. Retrieved 26 February 2024. When I started working on the book six years ago
  18. ^ Hägglund, Martin [@martinhaegglund] (November 23, 2021). "Today is my birthday" (Tweet). Retrieved 24 February 2024 – via Twitter. Alisa (@AlisaZhulina) and I are expecting our first child in April