Academic strategery

The primary lecture I’m giving during my tour of the ends of the earth, “Neoliberalism’s Demons,” builds on my project in The Prince of This World. In that (still frustratingly forthcoming) book, I establish connections between key modern concepts and the theological problems that came to surround the devil, and in the various iterations of the lecture, I specify my claims further by connecting the most fully developed late-medieval theology of the devil with neoliberalism.

The interest this topic has generated made me ponder the possibility of trying to develop it into a short follow-up book. There are drawbacks to the idea, though. With a book-length treatment, even a relatively short one, I would probably have to wind up retreading a lot of the ground covered in The Prince of This World, and I’d also have to do a lot of “what is neoliberalism” exposition, which the academic world needs more of like it needs a hole in the head.

I’m now wondering if a journal article might be the more appropriate format. The idea may actually stand on its own more effectively as a shorter piece, while leading the inquisitive to The Prince of This World rather than replacing it in a dangerous supplement-type dynamic. It could even serve as the kind of thing that people could assign in classes, which would be helpful given that the book is probably not easily excerptable (or at least it doesn’t seem so to me). And best of all, I could finish it sooner, allowing me to maintain some momentum on my longer-term Trinity project rather than getting bogged down in the weeds of the vast and contentious literature on neoliberalism.

What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Academic strategery

  1. A short blog series, first post being targeted to those who have half an idea what neoliberalism and can’t help themselves from clicking links that mention it. Sell the book, gist the ideas, have fun. If the posts come together into a short book, bonus.

  2. I actually think a lay-person accessible “this is neo-liberalism” from a standpoint other than pure economics would be useful. Also not happy book is now coming out in October.

  3. The blog idea could work, but it doesn’t fulfill the goals of producing a go-to “teachable” encapsulation of my ideas on the devil, nor does it give me any academic cred. And I figure that I will have done most of the work of thinking through my ideas through the various Q&A sessions and resulting iterations of the talk, etc., so there wouldn’t necessarily be much intrinsic value for me in rehashing it in a blog format — especially given the radical decline in blog commenting.

  4. Would you perhaps consider posting your “Demons” lecture notes or writing a blog post about them to invite discussion here? It would also be interesting to hear, from the perspective of the lecturer, what audience questions you received and which were most intriguing, challenging, frustrating, etc. I would be curious and assume many of the readers cannot attend lectures “at the ends of the earth.” I can see why this might be an unattractive proposition if you are considering an article or book-essay. Just wanted to say I would be eager to read and join in discussion.

  5. Publish it in an elegant little chapbook with some dagguerotypes, and insist that your Italian translator reissue it in that format.

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