To me, this felt like a slower year, as I held back from diving into major new projects in the wake of completing Neoliberalism’s Demons last year — not only to stave off burn-out, but to keep the project fresh in my mind for when the time came to begin promoting and discussing it after publication. But there were some definite milestones. I participated in my first national conference session on my work, an “author meets critics” panel on The Prince of This World at the Western Political Science Association conference in San Francisco in March, and I had a similar event on Neoliberalism’s Demons at the University of Copenhagen in December. I travelled more than in any previous year of my life, including my first trip outside the Western world. All told, I gave talks in Milwaukee, San Francisco, Munich, New York, Copenhagen, and Karachi (Pakistan), as well as Chicago and Naperville.
I published a handful of shorter pieces this year as well. Ones that I’m particularly proud of are my two pieces for n+1, “The Prequel Boom” and “The Political Theology of Trump.” Blogging remained slow, but people also seemed to like my political theology reading list.
On the translation front, my translation of Agamben’s Karman: A Brief Treatise on Action, Guilt, and Gesture was published (publisher link) and I completed production work on a forthcoming translation of his Creation and Anarchy: The Work of Art and the Religion of Capitalism (preorder link). I also engaged in a major project where I am attempting to read (and take detailed notes on) Agamben’s complete works in as close to chronological order as I can discern — as of today, I have made it up to 2011 and hope to catch up to the present day within the next couple months. It is likely that a book will emerge from this work eventually. In other language-related news, I continued to keep up with biblical Hebrew, making my way through Genesis, most of Exodus (save the two repeated passages on the construction of the tabernacle), and the bulk of Judges (only two chapters left as of today).
In terms of teaching, the merger with North Central opened up opportunities to teach in different formats. Over the last couple terms, I developed a successful first-year seminar course centered on the Faust legend, and my proposal to teach a course on the Qur’an in the honors program next academic year was accepted. Within the Shimer program, I am proud to have taught the senior capstone course for the first class to graduate from North Central. I also helped to coordinate a curricular reorganization and revision that will take effect next fall, which will hopefully make our curriculum more interdisciplinary and diverse while preserving our existing strengths.
So even after a “slow year,” I feel pretty tired.