Last week, I gave a brief talk at North Central College about the relationship between Trump and neoliberalism, which was part of a series of TED Talk-style events hosted by the Political Science Department. Video is now available, and a full archive of all previous talks in the series can be found here.
The talk was pitched at an undergrad audience, and I was pretty happy with the solution I devised to the problem of how to define neoliberalism in an economical way. The basic thrust of my argument anticipates my conclusions from Neoliberalism’s Demons, albeit in a very compressed way.
On Thursday, February 16, I am doing two events at Northwestern — a discussion of the intro and chapter 1 of The Prince of This World and a talk on political theology and neoliberalism. Details are included in this PDF flyer.
I am planning to kick off next year with two speaking dates. The first will be part of a larger event on “The Temptation of Christ” for the DePaul Humanities Center on Monday, January 16 (PDF flyer), and the second will be a conversation with Peter Coviello (possibly known to you as the author of one of the best post-election essays in existence) on The Prince of This World at the Seminary Co-op on Thursday, January 19 (JPG flyer).
I will be speaking under the auspices of the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy on Wednesday, August 3; details here. This is in addition to my talk at Australian Catholic University on Tuesday. The rest of my schedule can be found here.
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.
Continue reading “My Australia and New Zealand Tour”
Tomorrow I will be giving a talk at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville entitled “The Devil and Neoliberalism: A Discussion of Free Will.” Details here.
Here is my paper (PDF) for the ACLA session on Agamben that Virgil Brower and I organized. It was the final paper of the seminar and provided an oblique “preview” of the final Homo Sacer volume, The Use of Bodies.
Next Thursday, February 27, I will be giving a talk at Columbia College Chicago’s Cultural Studies Colloquium entitled “Creepiness and Culture.” The talk is at 4pm at the Columbia campus’ 624 South Michigan Avenue building, room 610. In it, I will be addressing ideas I am working through for the projected final volume of my trilogy on bad affects in pop culture, Creepiness.
This Thursday, February 6, I will be giving a talk at Harvard University entitled “Why Agamben Needs Psychoanalysis,” as part of the Psychoanalytic Practices Seminar. It will be at 4:00 in Room 133 of the Barker Center. The talk will deal with every book in the Homo Sacer series to some extent, as I lay out a psychoanalytically-inflected internal critique of Agamben’s project.