Timothy O'Leary

Head of School

Timothy O’Leary is a philosopher who has worked and studied in Ireland, Paris, Hong Kong, and Australia.

His research is in the area of contemporary European philosophy, in particular the work of Michel Foucault. He has published 2 monographs, co-edited 3 volumes, guest-edited 2 Journal Special Issues, and published many journal articles and book chapters on topics including the work of Michel Foucault, the relations between ethics and aesthetics, the ethical dimensions of literature, and philosophical approaches to happiness. He is co-General Editor of the New Critical Humanities book series with Rowman & Littlefield International.

Before coming to UNSW in 2018, he taught philosophy for 17 years at the University of Hong Kong, where he also served as Associate Dean of Arts (Research & Postgraduate), the Head of the School of Humanities, and an elected member of HKU Council.

In his current position as Head of the School of Humanities & Languages at UNSW, he is particularly keen to promote the critical role of the humanities in our contemporary world of splintered politics, huge inequalities, and a growing environmental crisis. He is a UNSW LGBTIQ+ ALLY and a member of the UNSW Gender Champions Working Group. 

Other Languages Spoken
Subject areas


Falzon C; O Leary T; Sawicki J, 2013, A Companion to Foucault, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781118324905
O'Leary T, 2011, Foucault and Fiction The Experience Book, Bloomsbury Publishing
O Leary T; Falzon CA, 2010, Foucault and Philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, U.K., http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781444320091
O Leary T; Falzon C, (ed.), 2010, Introduction: Foucault’s Philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781444320091.ch
O'Leary T, 2006, Foucault and the Art of Ethics, Continuum, London
Book Chapters
O'Leary T, 2014, 'Raymond Roussel', in Lawlor L; Nale J (ed.), , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 676 - 679, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139022309.117
O'Leary T, 2011, 'Foucault', in Schrift AD (ed.), , University of Chicago Press, Chicago
O'Leary T, 2010, 'Re-thinking Experience with Foucault', in O'Leary T; Falzon C (ed.), , Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 162 - 184
O'Leary T, 2010, 'Rethinking Experience with Foucault', in Foucault and Philosophy, pp. 162 - 184, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781444320091.ch8
Journal articles
Jackson L; O'Leary T, 2019, 'Education and the Hong Kong umbrella movement', Educational Philosophy and Theory, vol. 51, pp. 157 - 162, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2016.1268523
O'Leary T, 2017, 'Critique, ethics, and the apparatus of experience: A foucauldian framework', Frontiers of Philosophy in China, vol. 12, pp. 120 - 136, http://dx.doi.org/10.3868/s030-006-017-0009-4
O'Leary T, 2008, 'Foucault's turn from literature', Continental Philosophy Review, vol. 41, pp. 89 - 110, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11007-007-9073-2
O'Leary T, 2008, 'Foucault experience literature', Foucault Studies, pp. 5 - 25, http://dx.doi.org/10.22439/fs.v0i5.1407
O'Leary T, 2008, 'Governing the tongue: Heaney among the philosophers', Textual Practice, vol. 22, pp. 657 - 677, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502360802457434
O'Leary T, 2005, 'Foucault, Dewey, and the experience of literature', New Literary History, vol. 36, pp. 543 - 557, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/nlh.2006.0008
O'Leary T, 1996, 'Foucault, politics and the autonomy of the aesthetic', International Journal of Philosophical Studies, vol. 4, pp. 273 - 291, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672559608570835