An account of a history that has never been written

In many of Gil Anidjar’s works there seems to be a common thread pertaining to what I might hesitatingly call “method.” His texts often take the form of investigations into the conditions for the possibility of X. Of course, the Kantian sensibility here is obvious, and on it’s own this would not be worth mentioning. However, in what seems to be a form of deconstruction that foregrounds (more so than Derrida, I think) the psychoanalytic aspect, his texts analyze the conditions of possibility of repression/foreclosure of an X which nevertheless structures Y.

Blood examines the various ways that this element, like a purloined letter, has come to create internal divisions and markers within Western Christianity. After (re)creating circulation in kinship, politics, and money, blood has been repressed from the Western scene. Semites explores the repressed history of the Aryan/Semite opposition. The Jew, the Arab interrogates the absence of a theory of the enemy. The Jew and the arab are the enemies that have allowed Christianity to imagine distinct spheres of the religious and the political. A decisive point in this foreclosed history is Jesus’ new law, ‘love your enemies!’ and the generalized ambivalence that it installs. If all enemies are neighbors, all neighbors are enemies.

In the introduction to The Jew, the Arab, he states that the book is “less a history than a preliminary account of why that history has never been written.” Perhaps the most interesting example of this method comes, curiously, at the conclusion of Blood. He asks how it is that we have never noticed how christian Freud is? Lacan already asked “What in fucking God’s name does Moses have to do with Oedipus and the father of the primal horde?” The analyst Anidjar puts Freud himself on the couch and gives his diagnosis: repression!

Gil Anidjar’s Blood: Book Event and Giveaway

Later this Summer, we will be hosting the next AUFS book event on Gil Anidjar’s Blood: A Critique of Christianity. We have been looking forward to this book and have put together an exciting group of contributors, most of whom are not regular AUFS authors.

Columbia University Press has generously offered us a copy to give away to a reader. To enter, leave a comment below and post a link to this page on Facebook and/or Twitter. The winner will be contacted via the email address provided when commenting on this page. Giveaway will close tomorrow night, Tuesday May 5th.  Update: Scott has won the giveaway. Thanks everyone for participating!

Meanwhile, check out this roundtable discussion on the book: