Imran Hashmi

Photo of Imran Hashmi

Department of Modern Languages
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD Title: Nietzsche and Adorno as Critics of Enlightenment
Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Martin and Dr Elystan Griffiths
PhD German Studies


  • BA Modern Languages (German), Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford (2015-2019).
  • MLitt German Studies, University of St Andrews (2019-2020), Distinction.


I started my PhD at the University of Birmingham in September 2020. I had previously completed an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, and a Master’s degree in German Studies at the University of St Andrews. My doctoral research investigates Friedrich Nietzsche’s and Theodor W. Adorno’s often ambivalent relationships with enlightenment and rational thought. I aim to show that a critique of enlightenment underpins Nietzsche’s and Adorno’s wider critiques of their contemporary cultures. This project builds upon a wider interest in German-language intellectual history that I developed over the course of my previous studies. My other interests lie in modern German-language literature and culture, with a particular focus on the period running from roughly 1848 to 1930.


My project is a comparative study of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) as critics of enlightenment. Both thinkers held ambivalent views of enlightenment its lasting legacy, focusing particularly on the principle of rational thought. Whilst Nietzsche and Adorno acknowledged enlightenment's strengths, they were just as keen to highlight what they considered to be the negative impact of reason on wider culture, which they believed to be reflected in the artistic and intellectual developments of their times. By viewing Nietzsche and Adorno in this way, I aim to show that a critique of enlightenment underpins their aesthetic, intellectual, and moral critiques of culture and society. 

Other activities

Conference participation: 

  • Negative Conceptions of Community: A Case Study’. Paper presented at Graduate Centre for Europe Annual Conference: Communities in Europe Between Continuity and Transition, University of Birmingham, 13th-14th May 2021 [held online]. 
  • ‘Cultural Criticism Beyond Borders: Friedrich Nietzsche and Theodor W. Adorno’. Poster and lightning talk, MMU 13th Annual PGR Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, 17th March 2021 [held online].
  • ‘Art, (Pseudo-) Reality, and Aesthetic Autonomy: 1872-1970.’ Paper presented at 17th German Graduate Symposium: Realities, University of Oxford, 17th October 2020 [held online].
  • ‘Immanuel Kant’s Enlightenment: A Journey to Utopia?’ Research poster presented at V Annual Postgraduate Conference in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, University of Glasgow, 13th May 2020 [held online].

 Grants and funding: 

  • DAAD: Costs of participation in the Kolleg Europa programme (March 2021 [held online] and September 2021 [to be held either online or in Lisbon, Portugal]).
  • University of St Andrews: Forum for Modern Language Studies Scholarship (September 2019-August 2020).
  • University of Oxford: David McLintock Memorial Fund Book Grant (February 2019).