This summer, I was invited to come speak at Australian National University by Monique Rooney. Subsequently, I was able to schedule several other talks in Australia and New Zealand, adding up to a three-week speaking tour that will double as a vacation, with The Girlfriend joining me in Sydney. Thanks to Monique, Julian Murphet (of the University of New South Wales), Robyn Horner and David Newheiser (of Australian Catholic University), Mike Grimshaw and Cindy Zeiher (of Canterbury University), and Campbell Jones (of Auckland University) for their generous invitations.
I will be giving two different lectures based on my forthcoming (and preorderable) book The Prince of This World and giving a masterclass (covering my Crisis and Critique article and some selections from Agamben). The primary lecture will be entitled “Neoliberalism’s Demons”:
The devil is one of the most enduring Christian theological symbols, a figure that has taken on a life of its own in the culture of secular modernity. In this talk, Adam Kotsko traces the origin of the devil back to his theological roots in the problem of evil. One of the greatest challenges to traditional monotheism has always been the existence of suffering and injustice — if God is all-good and all-powerful, why does he allow it? The devil emerged as a convenient scapegoat, a fallen angel who was created good by God and yet freely chose to rebel. This placed the devil at the root of a theological system that used the idea of free will as a way of deflecting blame away from God and toward his wayward creatures. Kotsko will argue that the neoliberal order implies the same logic — deploying notions of free choice as a way of blaming individuals for systemic failures.
The other is entitled “The Origin of the Devil”:
The devil is normally viewed as a theological or mythological symbol, but in this lecture, Adam Kotsko will argue that the devil is equally a political symbol. And this is because the God of the Hebrew Bible is not only an object of worship, but a ruler — of Israel first of all, but also of the entire world. His first major opponent is not a rival deity, but a rival king, namely the evil Pharoah who refuses to let God’s people go. From that point forward, God’s most potent rivals are the earthly rulers who challenge his reign, from the kings who lead Israel astray to the emperors who conquer the Chosen People. This rivalry reaches a fever pitch in apocalyptic thought, which elevates God’s earthly opponent into a cosmic adversary who is eventually identified as Satan or the devil.
Detailed schedule below the fold.
Thursday, July 21: Australian National University (Canberra), “Neoliberalism’s Demons”
Friday, July 22: Australian National University (Canberra), Masterclass
Monday, July 25: Australian National University (Canberra), “The Origin of the Devil”
Wednesday, July 27: University of New South Wales (Sydney), “Neoliberalism’s Demons”
Tuesday, August 2: Australian Catholic University (Melbourne), “Neoliberalism’s Demons”
Friday, August 5: Canterbury University (Christchurch, New Zealand), “Neoliberalism’s Demons”
Monday, August 8: Auckland University (New Zealand), Masterclass
Wednesday, August 10: Auckland University (New Zealand), “Neoliberalism’s Demons”
(I could fit in additional dates in Sydney on July 28 or 29 or in Melbourne on August 1 or 3, if the institution or group was able to cover some of my hotel stay.)