Ida Djursaa

Research project: Alterity and Plasticity: Transforming Transcendence with Husserl, Levinas and Merleau-Ponty


My thesis investigates the phenomenological concept of transcendence as defined by Husserl and taken up and challenged in the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Levinas. Transcendence in the phenomenological sense has the double quality of at once signifying something ‘more' than what shows itself at any given point in time and space. Because of this excess, I argue, it is precisely the driving force for change and transformation. At the same time, however, this very movement of transformation can itself be characterised as a movement of self-transcendence. My leading question is thus whether, how, and to what extent we can rethink the concept of transcendence, not as a rigid pole opposite immanence, but rather as having a transformational core? I investigate this question of the plasticity of transcendence in the three contexts of history in Husserl, the body in Merleau-Ponty, and the ‘Other' in Levinas.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Alterity and Plasticity: Transforming Transcendence with Husserl, Levinas and Merleau-Ponty
  • Research supervisor: Ms Catherine Malabou
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Stella Sandford


I am a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy. My research investigates the concept of transcendence in Husserl, Levinas and Merleau-Ponty, with a focus on the possibility of thinking transcendence and plasticity together. 

Areas of research interest

  • Modern European Philosophy
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Plasticity
  • History of Philosophy
  • Metaphysics


  • MA in Modern European Philosophy, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy
  • BA in English Literature, Queen Mary University of London

Funding or awards received

  • Kingston University Studentship
  • Knud Højgaards fond
  • Augustinusfonden
  • Torben & Alice Frimodts Fond


New Formations 93, Summer 2018, Book review of Brenna Bhandar and Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller (eds.), Plastic Materialities: Politics, Legality, and Metamorphosis in the Work of Catherine Malabou, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2015