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).
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.
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.
This semester, I will be giving the following talks:
Thursday, February 6, at Harvard University, under the auspices of the Psychoanalytic Practices Seminar, which is sponsored by the Mahindra Humanities Center, I will be giving a talk entitled “Why Agamben Needs Psychoanalysis.”
Thursday, February 27, at Columbia College in Chicago, as part of the Cultural Studies Colloqium series, I will be giving a talk entitled “Creepiness and Culture.”
Friday, February 28, at the University of Chicago Divinity School, I will be a panelist for a discussion on pedagogy.
Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 23, at the American Comparative Literature Association conference at NYU, I will be participating in a seminar entitled “Agamben, Capital, and the Homo Sacer Series: Economy, Poverty, People, Work” (which Virgil Brower and I organized) and giving a paper entitled “What is to Be Done? The Endgame of the Homo Sacer Series.”
Further details will be forthcoming as these events get closer.
Yesterday, I delivered a lecture at Shimer College entitled “A Brief History of the Devil,” and the text of my talk is available in PDF form here. The talk is aimed at an undergraduate level, and so I did not include much theoretical or scholarly discussion. You can get a sense of how I see these ideas relating to the discipline of political theology, however, if you keep in mind that this recent post was written while I was drafting the lecture.