As co-chair of the Theology and Continental Philosophy programming unit, I’m pleased to announce the sessions that we are running this year. A summary of the titles, days, and times follows, with full information “below the fold.”
“Bataille, Blackness, and the Tumultuous Sacred,” Saturday, 1:00 PM–3:00 PM
“The Devil and the Demons: Neoliberal Theology in the Work of Adam Kotsko,” Saturday, 5:30 PM–7:00 PM
“The Jew, the Christian, and the Ends of the World,” Monday, 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
“Mormon Theology and Continental Thought,” Monday, 5:30 PM–7:00 PM
“New Frontiers in Phenomenology of Religion,” Tuesday, 8:30 AM–10:00 AM
Continue reading “Theology and Continental Philosophy at the AAR”
In my book, I argue that for Žižek there is a difference between love according to desire, which is ‘to believe in a false vision of purity and perfection’, suppressing and disavowing the inconsistencies and imperfections of the one beloved; and love according to drive which confronts ‘imperfection and incompleteness in all of their grotesque materiality’ (139). I am so grateful for the close attention that the respondents to my book have paid to what I have written; for the probing questions which push at the incompleteness and inconsistencies what I have written. But, as I also write, ‘real love may resemble cruelty’; reading these responses has opened new questions for me and reopened questions I thought I had settled; has had me teetering on the edge of exhilaration and despair; has me sat, now, trying to do justice to the careful attention which has been given to me.
Continue reading “Miraculous & Extremely Fragile: A Theology of Failure Book Event response”
A Theology of Failure could be described as a book about taking responsibility. Not the responsibility invoked by conservatives and reactionaries whose demand is always put to those they cast as irresponsible: the poor, single mothers, the entire Black community, or whatever oppressed grouping of subject-positions is at the moment convenient to cast as disrupting society’s wholeness. Marika’s is a call to a form of responsibility that is normally disavowed by casting responsibility as adherence to the symbolic law. Grow up, get a job, settle down, buy a house, have kids. Actions that are, in terms of their reality, impossible to achieve within the symbolic and ultimately life-denying and death-dealing when one tries too hard to achieve them. The responsibility that is denied by cleaving to these symbolic demands and falling into their snares is much harder to respond to. It is the demand carried in the ethical maxim (mis)attributed to Lacan: “do not give up on your desire.”
This ethical axiom arguably misreads Lacan’s original claims, but has been developed by Žižek and Zupančič as a way to speak about the subtle shift from the logic of desire to drive. For in not giving up on your desire one is caught up into the constant return to the question “what is my desire?” and finds that it is nameless and demands to not be turned away from in the making of a fetish as some object or name whose capture is impossible and so anxiety producing. This maxim speaks to the central importance of the concepts of desire and drive and their distinction in A Theology of Failure. Continue reading “Never Enough; the Unanswerable Demand of the Heretic, the Whore, the Witch, and the Slave: A Theology of Failure Book Event”
“Everybody knows that theology has failed,” Rose begins, before going on to do it better than anyone has in a long time. I’m sure that her version of this joke is funnier, too. How can we take failure seriously when its spokesperson can’t even bother to fail in her own book on the subject. Gotcha, hypocrite!
I’ll get serious. Rose’s book provides a necessary opportunity to think about different ways to fail. And one of the thoughts that returned over and over while reading the book was the question of how to differentiate between kinds of failure without beginning again to carve out a space for innocence.
Continue reading “On Contaminating Drive with Desire and (not quite) Ending the World: A Theology of Failure Book Event”
This is a guest post from Rajbir Singh Judge.
While reading Marika Rose’s brilliant book A Theology of Failure: Žižek against Christian Innocence, that nettlesome question surfaces: “What is Christianity?” And, from there, one is led to ask a different question: what was Christianity? Even though it is and has been a religion—which, we must recall, is “a term of its own making”—the answer is not so easily answered. Asking about the past itself is double-edged in our age of historical recuperation. The past can signal the recovery of lost hope that has potential to liberate or it can refuse the premise of a contraction and reveal Christian genealogies that continue to suffocate. The latter question demands we consider the difference a Christian past introduced with respect to today. But, then, the question turns again, to the former possibility. Is there a different subaltern Christian repository for our ailing present? What difference does today introduce with respect to yesterday?
Continue reading “Tarrying with Christ: A Theology of Failure Book Event”
This is a guest post by Ben Fulford.
Marika Rose’s A Theology of Failure speaks powerfully to a problem that has come increasingly to concern me as someone working in Christian theology, teaching systematic theology no less, and immersed in institutional structures like the Society for the Study of Theology that we’ve both been attending for several years now. That problem is what I take to be the central problem of the book: the challenge of faithfully betraying the intellectual and spiritual tradition in which one has been formed, as one comes to learn – and I am still learning – of the extent and depths of its complicities with manifold forms of violence, structural and directly corporeal, going back in different ways over many centuries, and still live today, and always linked intimately with various formations of Christian identity.
Continue reading “Reproduction Interrupted and the Legacies of Systematic Thought: A Theology of Failure Book Event”
What does it mean to be a failure? How can we be adequate to a reality that demands that we cede all hope of success? These are questions that came to mind as I was reading Marika’s A Theology of Failure. In thinking through these questions, I would like to focus my remarks on some themes that I found particularly striking throughout the book: the relationship between freedom, ethics, and the dialectical identity of good and evil.
Continue reading “Good, Evil, and Drive: A Theology of Failure Book Event”