Drew Ninnis

Drew’s Quote of the Week

Psychoanalysts writing histories of psychiatry make some bold, outrageous, and usually hilarious claims. But this one has to be my absolute favourite:

->Freud’s bold thrust into the dark caverns of man’s nature has provided a rallying point and given direction to mental healers and psychotherapists of many descriptions. It is not too much to say that modern social life has become therapeutic in its essence.

->Whether this concerted effort to help man master his emotions and to diagnose the psychological causes of his unhappiness will result in a tensionless world is a problem for the future to answer. Psychotherapy, if it does not accomplish this gigantic task, has at least implemented Man’s eternal search for emotional ease and peace of mind.

—>- Blomberg, The Mind of Man.

Spot anything wrong with the last sentence? One wonders how you go about implementing a search that is eternal, and therefore already implemented. Curious.

Previous quotes - Drew Ninnis Quotes

Personal History

I was born in Paris on the 9th of September to two parents (which, I am informed, is standard operating procedure); Francois du Plessis, my father, and Susanne de La Porte, naturally enough my mother. Explaining how I acquired the last name of “Ninnis” is a long and rather dull affair relating to genealogies, old family names, and the way in which children in (what is left of) the French aristocracy inherit their names. Most frustrating is the fact that in future (rather unfortunate circumstances [i.e. death of relatives]) it may change again. It makes earning certificates and endeavour awards much more difficult.

I have very few memories of my father, unfortunately being a soldier he succumbed to the occupational hazards of the profession (i.e. bullets travelling really, really fast). So it was left to my mother to look after me, and despite the unfortunate state of debt that we were left in we got by. The French government helped out a great deal.

Thus with an early life jam packed full of excitement I dreamed, when I was nine, of travelling to the College of Navarre and studying philosophy and maybe eventually going on to a military career. However, the only travelling I did was to the antipodes where I was stuck in Perth until the age of 22. After that, I finally achieved my dream of studying philosophy and travelled to the much respected ANU to continue my education. I no longer dream of a military career.

Thus I find myself here, in Canberra, completing my PhD and specialising in twentieth century French philosophy - particularly Foucault. Most interesting. Oh, and the Holocaust. Most depressing.


I have acquired an office

Take a guided tour. Drew Ninnis Office

But I have not yet acquired a thesis

Take a look at my thesis topic. Drew Ninnis Tpr

ANU Philosophy Seminar Series 2006

This is a link to a paper I gave in 2006 as part of the regular series of ANU Philosophy Seminars. It was entitled ‘Life Unworthy of Being Lived: Robert Musil and Michel Foucault on Industrialised Killing’. It has a tangential relation to my thesis, and can be found here -


The Man Without Qualities remains my favourite book, and I think an enduring masterpiece. Who need Shakespeare when we have Musil and the modernists? Give Musil the posthumous acknowledgement he deserves!

Alternately, here is a paper that I delivered in 2007 on Foucault’s conception of the relationship between Sovereign Power, Disciplinary Power, and his emerging understanding of Governmentality. A rip-roarer of a read.


Better yet: ANU Philosophy Seminar Series 2008

Come and have a look at what is on; academics much more intelligent and respected than me also present interesting papers here.