You’re On God’s Time Now

The following is the text of a presentation I gave last summer in Berlin. While some of the ideas and problematics articulated here are ones I wouldn’t frame in quite the same way now–that’s the nature of a research project that’s still very much active!–I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve provided any kind of update on the direction my research on time and usury is taking, and thought it might be of interest for some readers here.

1.0 In his review of Deleuze’s The Fold, Alain Badiou positions his own philosophy against Deleuze’s by placing the two of them on opposite sides of one and the same basic decision or divide. The choice, he claims, is between “mathematic” and “organicist” paradigms of multiplicity. Or—as we run through the sequence of opposing terms that reiterates this point throughout the review—a choice between “number” and “animal,” “Plato” and “Aristotle,” “quantity” and “quality,” and, finally—and to my mind, most decisively—“extensive” and “intensive” multiplicities.[1]

Badiou’s—and his admirers’—polemics against Deleuze, have centered in large part on the question of novelty; of what it means for something truly new to come about. This is an issue of both politics and ontology, but this emphasis on novelty also makes it an issue of time—of the time of the new; of how we should think of time in order to think what’s new about the new. The new is, after all, novel because it differs from what comes before it; novelty is a temporal idea. I don’t want to rehash, here, the long and exhaustive debate that’s played out between partisans of these two philosophers over the last several decades—entering a new volley in the repeating fire across the trenches simply isn’t something I’m interested in.

What I want to do instead is take the fact of this division—between extensive and intensive temporal multiplicities—as a kind of index. In particular, I want to take the fact of this division to index a certain operation of division. When I say “operation of division,” I’m recalling especially of Daniel Colucciello Barber’s work on Spinoza, and his chapter “Metarelation and Nonrelation” in Serial Killing, echoes of which you may hear throughout this piece. If we’re being asked to divide time in two for the sake of a decision in favor of novelty—in whatever form that might take—then what is this operation of division that’s being asked of us? What are its stakes and what is its impetus? I’m doing this, for reasons that might become clearer over the course of what I’m saying here, in order to speak in favor of a certain kind of refusal of this division, which is also to say a refusal to decide on the form of the new. I want to apologize a bit for how schematic many of these comments will be, and how much they’ll jump back and forth in both time and disciplinary space. Hopefully you’ll be able to follow the resonances here, and I’m of course happy to talk more about why I’m connecting certain texts and ideas. Continue reading “You’re On God’s Time Now”

AUFS at the AAR/SBL 2016

Various AUFS contributors will be giving papers or presiding at the AAR in San Antonio this year. Here’s a list of some of the places you’ll find us; feel free to use the comments below to highlight any panels/papers/buffets AUFS readers might be especially interested in.

Comparative Theology Group and Roman Catholic Studies Group
Theme: Comparative Theologies of Creation: Engaging Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Convention Center-007B (River Level)
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis traces the origin of the ecological crisis to the “technocratic paradigm” and proposes a “Gospel of Creation” to assert the goodness and intrinsic value of Earth’s creatures, beyond their use to humans, and to embed the human person within a “universal communion” of creatures. In addition, Pope Francis encourages all religions “to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature.” This panel will explore comparative theologies of creation, or of cosmological order of some kind for traditions in which there is no “Creator,” to explore conceptual frameworks that can spur all traditions to protect nature. Panelists will draw on Hindu, Buddhist, American Indian, and Confucian theologians in dialogue with Christian interlocutors to explore themes of cosmic belonging, traditions of visualization, the liquidity of landscapes, and creatio ex profundis/qi. The respondent will identify promising similarities and crucial differences between the four presentations.

Daniel Scheid, Duquesne University
Cosmic Belonging in Catholic and Hindu Theologies of Creation

Thomas Cattoi, Graduate Theological Union
Laudato Si’ and a Broader Vision of Reality: Theologies of Purified Vision in Theodore the Studite and Bokar Rinpoche

Jea Sophia Oh, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Pope Francis’ Integral Ecology and a Nondualistic Interconnected Cosmology in Catherine Keller and Neo-Confucian Zhang Zai

June-Ann Greeley, Sacred Heart University
A Comparative Eco-Theology of Water: Correspondences between Pope Francis and Native American Cosmologies

Anthony Paul Smith, La Salle University
The Limits of the Common: A Decolonial Reading of Laudato Si’

Reid Locklin, University of Toronto

Theology and Continental Philosophy Group
Theme: Race, Capital, and Resistance
Unregistered Participant, Presiding
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Convention Center-206A (2nd Level – West)
A series of investigations into the complex relationship between race and capitalism and the importance of attention to both factors in resisting neoliberal hegemony.

David Kline, Rice University
Resisting White American Christian Immunity: Theo-Pragmatics and Autoimmune Openings

Anthony Paul Smith, La Salle University
Exiled from the World: The Figure of the Black Muslim in Continental Philosophy of Religion

Timothy Snediker, University of California, Santa Barbara
Theodicy of Money: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Apparatus of Forgiveness

Andrew Krinks, Vanderbilt University
Property Lines and the Production of Personhood: On the Theo-Logics of Racial Capitalism

Beatrice Marovich, Hanover College

Liberation Theologies Group and Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Group
Theme: Refugee Crisis: Past and Present
Alana Vincent, University of Chester, Presiding
Sunday – 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Convention Center-207B (2nd Level – West)
This panel will expose and explore the resonance or dissonance between refugees in the 1930s and 1940s with that in the present day. This includes examinations or analyses of the treatment of refugees or the discourses (e.g. political, social, religious or economic) that surround them.

Marika Rose, Durham University
Fantasies of Europe: Žižek, Liberation Theology, and the Refugee Crisis

Jordan Rowan Fannin, Baylor University
Getting Hold of the Wrong Horror: Misperceptions of Violence in the Plight of Refugees Past and Present

Ulrich Schmiedel, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Mourning the Un-Mournable: Rethinking Dignity in-between Refugees and Religion

Christian Systematic Theology Section
Theme: The Spirit: Engaging Christian Traditions
Holly Taylor Coolman, Providence College, Presiding
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Convention Center-215 (2nd Level – West)

Unregistered Participant
Contested Pneumatologies: J. Daniélou and G. Thils on the Role of the Holy Spirit in the 20th c. Theology of History Debates

Harald Hegstad, MF Norwegian School of Theology
Overcoming the Pneumatological Deficit of the Doctrine of Justification

Ekaterina Lomperis, University of Chicago
Discerning the Early Protestant Spirit: Martin Luther, Medical Cessationism, and the Spirit’s Work of Healing

Marika Rose, Durham University
Tongues of Fire, Thrones of Fire: Angels and the Spirit in Dionysius the Areopagite and Thomas Aquinas

A critique of The Kingdom and the Glory

Tomorrow, I will be giving a masterclass (PDF flyer) at the University of Auckland, where we will be discussing my Crisis and Critique article (PDF) as well as a paper I gave at a conference earlier this year at Loyola University Chicago, entitled “Agamben and the Problem of Evil” (PDF). I have been reluctant to post the latter, as I was pondering turning it into a proper article, but since it is being distributed for the masterclass, I might as well make it available. It gives an overview of The Kingdom and the Glory‘s argument and its place in Agamben’s project, then critiques it from the point of view of the problem of evil. In many ways, it reflects and expands upon my critique of K&G in The Prince of This World (preorder link), so perhaps you can consider it an indirect preview.

Video of the “Breaking the Manichean Chains” Panel

This past Friday I was on a panel that Mark William Westmoreland organized for the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs conference on Revolutions: Past, Present, and Future. Mark, Melanie Kampen, and myself all delivered papers which were recorded. The video is available to watch and please feel free to use this page for any comments or discussion. I thought Melanie’s and Mark’s papers were truly excellent and was very honored to be included. Some of what I presented comes out of discussions with Daniel Colucielleo Barber towards a paper I’m hoping we write together when we can carve out the time. The research is very much in early stages and very preliminary here.

My AAR paper: Negri and Gutierrez on Job

[I presented this on Saturday, November 19, under the auspices of the Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism group. I admit that my last couple paragraphs are somewhat self-indulgent, but my audience was forgiving.]

Gutierrez and Negri on Job:
Between Theology and Materialism

Adam Kotsko
Shimer College

For those of us who have been following the burgeoning trend of radical philosophical readings of the Bible, Negri’s Labor of Job may represent something of a breath of fresh air, not least because a major philosopher has finally chosen to focus on something other than the letters of Paul. More significant from my perspective, however, is the fact that Negri brings a voice into this dialogue that has often been neglected by recent philosophical interpreters: liberation theology.

Continue reading “My AAR paper: Negri and Gutierrez on Job”

My AAR presentation

This year I was fortunate to be part of a panel on “The Body of Christ” put on by the Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism group at the AAR. Presenters approached this theme from various directions — Mark L. Taylor critiqued Agamben’s category of bare life by arguing that his messianism is devoid of any reference to “crucified flesh,” Shelly Rambo put forward the idea of a “spectral Jesus,” and Jon Berquist discussed the Body of Christ in connection with the work of “the postmodern philosopher Paul.” I have posted my paper, entitled “Zizek and the Excremental Body of Christ,” on Scribd.

Scenes from a Conference

With much-appreciated financial assistance from a few of you here at AUFS and the fine folks who put together this year’s Religion, Literature & Culture Conference at the University of Iowa, a few weeks ago I made my way to Iowa City. First things first: I absolutely love Midwestern college towns. I like college towns in general, but something about in-the-middle-of-nowhere Midwestern college towns are especially delightful. One minute you’re dining at a Long John Silvers in some random highway-exit town, whose denizens actually wore blue overalls, like they knew I was going to be there and had to fulfill the stereotype, taking in the insanely paranoid, but wonderfully narrative, signs that adorn Illinois’ & Iowa’s rural highways; and the next you find yourself surrounded by the soon-to-be-ex-Iowa-residents, the gorgeous corn-fed students of the University of Iowa. Back to the signs real quickly: the ones telling the story of the grandeur of corn were self-serving in a way that I could understand, if not agree with. More interesting, though, were the ones arguing against anti-gun laws that, at least on a national level, to my knowledge anyway, are not even being discussed in committee. Fox News country is, they led me to believe, very dangerous. Unarmed, I kept my doors locked and windows tightly closed. Continue reading “Scenes from a Conference”

Last Minute Conference Collaboration

I will be reading two papers at the Midwest Region AAR meeting tomorrow (at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL), and would love to meet up for lunch with any AUFS lurkers if they will be there, or go see their papers if they are presenting. I would have posted something earlier this week, but I have been fighting a sickness and was not certain I would make it. I will begiving a paper entitled, “Christology After the Death of God: Incarnation and the Rise of Secularism” (Session 3:4, 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.), in a session on the Incarnation with Even Kuehn and Nathan Crawford giving papers on Kathryn Tanner’s Christ the Key, with Samuel Chambers responding). I will be in another session giving a paper on John Milbank and Jeffrey Stout: “Theopolitics After Secular Liberalism, Theological Traditionalism, and Incomplete Pragmatism: Assessing Jeffrey Stout and Radical Orthodoxy” (Session 2:2, 8:30-10:15 a.m.).