Adam Kotsko

Ph.D., 2009, Chicago Theological Seminary; Theology, Ethics, and Culture.
M.A., 2005, Chicago Theological Seminary; Religious Studies.
B.A., 2002, Olivet Nazarene University; English.

Academic Appointments
North Central College (Naperville, Illinois)
Assistant Professor in the Shimer Great Books School, 2017-

Shimer College (Chicago, Illinois)
Assistant Professor of Humanities, 2011-17
Associate Dean, 2015-17

Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion 2009-2011

Academic Monographs
Neoliberalism’s Demons: Four Chapters on the Political Theology of Late Capitalism (Stanford University Press, under contract).

The Prince of This World (Stanford University Press, 2016). (Amazon link)

Agamben’s Coming Philosophy: Finding a New Use for Theology, co-authored with Colby Dickinson (Rowman & Littlefield: 2015). (Amazon link)

Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (New York and London: Continuum/T&T Clark, 2010). (publisher link; Amazon link)

Žižek and Theology (New York and London: Continuum/T&T Clark, 2008). (publisher link; Amazon link)

Trade Books
Creepiness (New York and London: Zer0 Books, 2015). (Amazon link)

Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide to Late Capitalist Television (New York and London: Zer0 Books, 2012). (Amazon link) [Spanish translation: Por qué nos encantan los sociópatas, trans. Albert Fuentes (Melusina, 2016). (publisher link)]

Awkwardness (New York and London: Zer0 Books, 2010). (publisher link; Amazon link)

Edited Volume
Agamben’s Philosophical Lineage, co-edited with Carlo Salzani (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming). (Amazon link)

Works of Giorgio Agamben (from the Italian):

  • Karman: A Brief Treatise on Action, Guilt, and Gesture (Stanford University Press, under contract).
  • The Mystery of Evil: Benedict XVI and the End of Days (Stanford University Press, 2017).
  • The Use of Bodies (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016).
  • Pilate and Jesus (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).
  • Opus Dei: An Archeology of Duty (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013).
  • The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form of Life (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013).
  • The Sacrament of Language: An Archaeology of the Oath (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).

Journal Articles
“Neoliberalism’s Demons,” Theory and Event 20.2 (2017): 493-509. (Project MUSE link)

“The Inertia of Tradition in Star Trek: Case Studies in Neglected Corners of the ‘Canon’,” Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 (2016): 347–370. (journal issue link)

“What is the Western Canon Good For?” Australian Humanities Review 60 (2016): 157-61. (PDF link)

“Intellectual Freedom in the Age of Social Media,” Continental Thought and Theory 1 (2016): 80-82. (PDF link)

“The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Legitimacy: On the Roots and Future of Political Theology,” Crisis and Critique 2.1 (2015): 284-299. (PDF link)

“Genealogy and Political Theology: On Method in Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory,” Political Theology 14.1 (2013): 109-116. (submitted version PDF link)

“A Dangerous Supplement: Speculative Realism, Academic Blogging, and the Future of Philosophy,” Speculations IV (2013): 35-37. (PDF link)

“On Materialist Theology: Thinking God Beyond the Master Signifier,” Revue Internationale de Philosophie (2012): 347-357. (submitted version PDF link)

“The Resurrection of the Dead: A Religionless Interpretation,” Princeton Theological Review 26.1 (2011): 37-48. (PDF journal issue link)

“Gift and Communio: The Holy Spirit in Augustine’s De Trinitate,” Scottish Journal of Theology 64.1 (2011): 1-12. (PDF link; online journal issue link)

“The Christian Experience Continues: On Žižek’s Work Since The Parallax View,” International Journal of Žižek Studies 4.4 (2010): 1-9. (PDF link)

“‘That They Might Have Ontology’: Radical Orthodoxy and the New Debate,” Political Theology 10.1 (January 2009): 115-124. (submitted version PDF link)

“On Agamben’s Use of Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence,’” Telos 145 (Winter 2008): 119-129. (excerpt link)

“The Failed Divine Performative: Reading Judith Butler’s Critique of Theology with Anselm’s On the Fall of the Devil,” Journal of Religion 88.2 (2008): 209–225. (PDF link)

“Politics and Perversion: Situating Žižek’s Paul,” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 9.2 (2008): 43-52. (PDF link)

“The Sermon on Mount Moriah: Faith and the Secret in The Gift of Death,” Heythrop Journal 49.1 (2008): 44-61. (submitted version PDF link)

“Objective Spirit and Continuity in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Philosophy and Theology 17.1-2 (2005): 17-31. (PDF link)

“Empire and Eschaton,” Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 2.1 (2004): 1-6. (HTML link)

Book Chapters
“La teologia del neoliberismo,” trans. V. Bonacci and G. Lucchesini, in Giorgio Agamben: Ontologia e politica, ed. V. Bonacci (Quodlibet, forthcoming).

“The Persistence of the Ransom Theory of the Atonement,” in Companion to the Atonement, ed. Adam Johnson (New York: T&T Clark, forthcoming).

“Giorgio Agamben,” in Religion and European Philosophy: Key Thinkers from Kant to the Present, ed. Philip Goodchild and Hollis Phelps (Durham, U.K.: Acumen, 2017).

“Unlearning Helplessness: The Liberal Arts and the Future of Education,” in The Best Kind of College, ed. John Seery and Susan McWilliams (New York: SUNY Press, 2015).

“Repetition and Regression: The Problem of Christianity and Žižek’s ‘Middle Period,’” in Repeating Žižek, ed. Agon Hamza (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2015).

“Unplugging the Subject of Law: The Radical Judaism of Žižek’s Paul,” in Žižek and Law, ed. Laurent de Sutter (New York: Routledge, 2015).

“The Curse of the Law and the Coming Politics: On Agamben, Paul, and the Jewish Alternative,” in Giorgio Agamben: Legal, Political, and Philosophical Potentialities, ed. Tom Frost (New York: Routledge, 2013).

“Dismantling the Theo-Political Machine: On Agamben’s Messianic Nihilism,” in After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion, ed. Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010).

Dictionary Entries
“Exemplarism,” in Companion to the Atonement, ed. Adam Johnson (New York: T&T Clark, forthcoming).

“Mallarmé,” in The Meillassoux Dictionary, ed. Peter Gratton and Paul Ennis (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

“Milbank,” in A Žižek Dictionary, ed. Rex Butler and Harriet McAtee (Durham: Acumen, 2014).

Scholarly Reviews
Review of Roberto Esposito, Two: The Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought, SCTIW Review, February 23, 2016. (link)

Review of Benjamin H. Dunning, Christ Without Adam: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosophers’ Paul (Columbia University Press, 2014), Theology and Sexuality 21.1 (2015): 71-73.

Review of Sergei Prozorov, Agamben and Politics: A Critical Introduction (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (September 26, 2014).

Review of Paul Kahn, Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), Journal of Religion 94 (2014): 391-392.

“Out of the Woods? On Žižek’s Less Than Nothing,” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 13.2 (2014): 96-101. (PDF link)

“Gutiérrez and Negri on Job: Between Theology and Materialism” (review of Antonio Negri, The Labor of Job: The Biblical Text as a Parable of Human Labor), The Bible and Critical Theory 8.1 (2012), 110-114. (PDF link)

Review of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), Political Theology 12.3 (2011): 487-490. (PDF link)

Review of Adrian Johnston, Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2009), Symplokē 18.1-2 (2011): 419-421. (HTML link)

“Missed Encounter, Missed Opportunity” (contribution to roundtable on Žižek and Milbank, The Monstrosity of Christ), Expositions 4.1-2 (2010): 123-127. (PDF link)

Review of Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank, The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009), Political Theology 11.1 (2010), 141-144 (PDF link).

“Žižek’s Flawed ‘Magnum Opus.’” (Review of Slavoj Žižek, The Parallax View.) Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 8.1 (2006): 90-97. (PDF link)

“Already, Not Yet.” (Review of Jean-Luc Nancy, Déclosion : Déconstruction du christianisme, 1.) Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 6.3 (2005): 87-95. (PDF link)

Books reviewed for Reviews in Religion and Theology:

Public Humanities: Essays, Interviews, Interventions
“Jury Duty: How the internet became a tool for judgment rather than dialogue,” Real Life, January 31, 2017. [Portuguese translation: “Tribunal do júri,” Manual do Usuário, March 8, 2017.]

“Por qué no quiero ir a tu casa a ponernos cómodos… y ver series” (interview on Spanish translation of Why We Love Sociopaths), in PlayGround, March 4, 2016. (link)

“The Devil—Writ Large and in the Details” (review of Almond’s The Devil and Korpel and de Moor’s Adam, Eve, and the Devil), in Marginalia Review of Books, September 29, 2015. (link)

“Nice to Meat You,” The New Inquiry, February 17, 2015. (link)

“Cure God and Die: On Agamben and Job,” The Immanent Frame, October 7, 2014. (link)

“The Courage to Be Ignorant,” Inside Higher Ed, December 3, 2013. (link)

“Grad School Finance,” Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2013. (link)

“How to Read Agamben,” Los Angeles Review of Books, June 4, 2013. (link)

“Don Draper, the Devil and Democracy: An Interview with Adam Kotsko” (interview with Tom Cutterham), Review 31, May 10, 2013. (link)

“How to Make the Best of Assessment,” Inside Higher Ed, April 22, 2013. (link)

Less Than Nothing: Žižek’s Theory of Everything” (review of Slavoj Žižek, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism), Global Comment, January 7, 2013. (link)

“Focusing on Job Skills Limits Students’ Prospects” (letter to the editor), Chronicle of Higher Education, October 30, 2012. (link)

“Perché amiamo i sociopatici” (interview with Anna Momigliano over my Why We Love Sociopaths), Studio, September 11, 2012. (link)

“How to Read Žižek,” Los Angeles Review of Books, September 2, 2012. (link)

“Footnote Fairy Tale” (review of Francis Spufford, Red Plenty), The New Inquiry, June 5, 2012. (link)

“Quentin Meillassoux and the Crackpot Sublime,” The New Inquiry, May 9, 2012. (link)

“The Immersion Method,” Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2012. (link)

“A Better Form of Atheism: Rescuing the Christian Tradition from Religion” (interview with Emily Manuel over my Politics of Redemption), Religion Dispatches, June 24, 2011. (link)

Review of Slavoj Žižek, Living in the End Times (expanded paperback edition), Global Comment, June 17, 2011. (link)

“The Flawed Middle,” Inside Higher Ed, April 20, 2011. (link)

“The Bond of the Awkward,” The Guardian, January 1, 2011. (link)

“Christians in Academe: A Response,” Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2010. (link)

“On Teaching Christianity,” Inside Higher Ed, February 18, 2010. (link)

“A Defense of the Lecture,” Inside Higher Ed, November 20, 2009. (link)

“‘You’re Not Don Draper’: Looking Back on Mad Men Season 2,” PopMatters, August 14, 2009. (link)

“The Ethics of Dr. Gregory House,” PopMatters, April 23, 2009. (link)

“A Skeptic’s Take on Academic Blogging,” Inside Higher Ed, November 1, 2007. (link)

“Don’t Be Afraid of Committees,” Inside Higher Ed, May 21, 2007. (link)

“Žižek’s Refusal.” (Review of Slavoj Žižek, The Parallax View.) In These Times, May 2006. (link)

Invited Lectures and Presentations
“From Restricted to General Political Theology,” Political Theology Panel Series, Department of Theology, Loyola University Chicago, April 2017.

“The Prince of This World,” Chicago Theological Seminary, April 2017.

“The Political Theology of Late Capitalism: On Neoliberalism,” Department of Religion, Northwestern University, February 2017.

“The Prince of This World” (in conversation with Peter Coviello). Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, Chicago, January 2017.

Panelist for “The Biblical Humanities: The Temptation of Christ.” DePaul Humanities Center, Chicago, January 2017.

“Neoliberalism’s Demons.” Critical Theory Circle and Departments of Sociology and Theology, Auckland University (New Zealand), August 2016; Continental Philosophy Seminar Series, Canterbury University (Christchurch, New Zealand), August 2016; Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy, August 2016; Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University (Melbourne), August 2016; Center for Modernism Studies, University of New South Wales (Sydney), July 2016; Australian National University, July 2016. (lecture transcript)

“The Origin of the Devil.” Australian National University, July 2016.

“The Devil and Neoliberalism: A Discussion of Free Will.” Center for the Study of Social Justice, University of Tennesse at Knoxville, April 2016.

“Awkwardness as a Way of Life.” Architecture Lecture Series, University of Illinois at Chicago, January 2016. (video link)

“The Prince of This World: The Devil and Political Theology.” Humanities on the Edge Series, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, March 2015.

“Creepiness.” Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Chicago, March 2015.

“The Political Theology of the Devil.” Department of Religious Studies, Wayne State University (Detroit, Mich.), February 2015.

“The Specter of Creepiness.” DeRoy Lecture Series, Department of English, Wayne State University (Detroit, Mich.), February 2015.

“Žižek and Theology.” Portland Center for Public Humanities, Portland State University (Portland, Ore.), October 2014.

“Political Theology from Below.” The Actuality of the Theologico-Political Conference, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London, May 2014.

Panelist for “Helping Students Cope with Pluralism and Criticism in the Classroom,” University of Chicago Divinity School, February 2014.

“Creepiness and Culture.” Cultural Studies Colloquium, Columbia College, Chicago, February 2014.

“Why Agamben Needs Psychoanalysis.” Psychoanalytic Practices Seminar, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, February 2014.

“A Brief History of the Devil.” Shimer College, October 2013.

“What St. Paul and the Franciscans Can Tell Us About Neoliberalism: On Agamben’s Highest Poverty.” Paul of Tarsus Interdisciplinary Working Group, Northwestern University, May 2013. (PDF link)

“Agamben on Liturgy and Politics.” Paul of Tarsus Interdisciplinary Working Group, Northwestern University, October 2012.

“Why We Love Sociopaths.” Inter-Chicago Circle for Experimental Critical Theory (InterCcect), 57th Street Books, Chicago, July 2012.

“Agamben, Paul, and the Oath.” Paul of Tarsus Interdisciplinary Working Group, Northwestern University, April 2011. (PDF link)

“Awkwardness.” Marion Dunsmore Lecture in Religion, Kalamazoo College, March 2010.

Conference Presentations
“Agamben and the Problem of Evil.” Continental Philosophy and Catholic International Heritage Interdisciplinary International Conference, Loyola University Chicago, April 2016. (PDF link)

Respondent for Thomas Altizer. Continental Philosophy and Catholic International Heritage Interdisciplinary International Conference, Loyola University Chicago, April 2016.

“‘These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins’: The Waste Land, Modernism, and ‘The Western Tradition’.” Association for Core Texts and Courses Liberal Arts Institute Conference on “The Intersection of Religious and Secular Cores in Liberal Arts Education,” Rhodes College (Memphis, Tenn.), September 2014.

“What is to Be Done? The Endgame of the Homo Sacer Series.” American Comparative Literature Association (Seminar: “Agamben, Capital, and the Homo Sacer Series: Economy, Poverty, People, Work”), New York University, March 2014.

Panelist for “Helping Students Cope with Pluralism and Criticism in the Classroom,” University of Chicago Divinity School, February 2014.

“The Prince of This World: Thinking the Devil in Light of Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory.” American Academy of Religion (Theology and Religious Reflection/Theology and Continental Philosophy), Chicago, November 2012. (link)

Panelist for “Review/Discussion of Antonio Negri’s The Labor of Job: The Biblical Text as a Parable of Human Labor (Duke University Press, 2009).” American Academy of Religion (Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism), San Francisco, November 2011. (HTML link)

Panelist for “The Body of Christ.” American Academy of Religion (Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism), Atlanta, November 2010. (Scribd link)

“Displacing the Devil: Anselm, the Patristic Heritage, and Political Theology.” International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2010. (PDF link)

“Patristic Perspectives on the Cross: A Reinterpretation.” American Academy of Religion (Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism), Montreal, November 2009. (HTML link)

“The Pre-History of Jean-Luc Nancy’s Deconstruction of Christianity.” American Academy of Religion (Philosophy of Religion), Chicago, November 2008. (PDF link)

Panelist for “Hegemony, Gospel, & Empty Signifier: Theological and Philosophical Responses to Populist Reason.” American Academy of Religion (additional meeting), Chicago, November 2008. (PDF link)

“Philosophical Reading Beyond Paul: Jean-Luc Nancy on the Epistle of James.” Society of Biblical Literature (Reading, Theory, and the Bible), San Diego, November 2007. (HTML link)

Panelist for “The Internet, Publishing, and the Future of Literature.” Association of Literary Scholars and Critics Annual Meeting, Chicago, October 2007. (published version link)

“Singular Plural Catholic Spirit: John Wesley with Jean-Luc Nancy.” Wesleyan Theological Society Annual Meeting, Bourbonnais, Ill., March 2007. (PDF link)

Panelist for “Critical Responses to Theology and the Political: The New Debate (Duke, 2005).” American Academy of Religion (wildcard session), Washington, D.C., November 2006. (published version PDF link)

“Politics and Perversion: Situating Žižek’s Paul.” Society of Biblical Literature (Reading, Theory, and the Bible), Washington, D.C., November 2006. (published version PDF link)

“Repeating Wesley.” Wesleyan Theological Society Annual Meeting, Seattle, March 2005. (PDF link)

“Slavoj Žižek’s Materialist Trinitarianism.” Annual Villanova Graduate Student Philosophy Conference on “Philosophy and Psychoanalysis,” Philadelphia, March 2003. (PDF link)


Shimer College
Courses taught:

  • Humanities 1: Art and Music (syllabus)
  • Humanities 2: Poetry, Drama, and Fiction (syllabus)
  • Humanities 3: Philosophy and Theology (syllabus)
  • Humanities 4: Critical Evaluation in the Humanities (syllabus)
  • Integrative Studies 3: Nature and Culture I (syllabus)
  • Integrative Studies 4: Nature and Culture II (syllabus)
  • Integrative Studies 5: History and Philosophy of Western Civilization I (syllabus)
  • Integrative Studies 6: History and Philosophy of Western Civilization II (syllabus)
  • Social Sciences 1: Society, Culture, and Personality (syllabus)
  • Social Sciences 2: The Western Political Tradition (syllabus)
  • Social Sciences 4: Social Perspectives and Social Action (syllabus)
  • Elective: The Devil in Christian Thought (syllabus)
  • Elective: Introduction to Islamic Thought (syllabus)
  • Elective: Reading the Qur’an (syllabus)
  • Elective: Heidegger’s Being and Time (syllabus)
  • Tutorial: Heidegger’s Middle Period (syllabus)
  • Tutorial: Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (syllabus)
  • Tutorial: New Testament Epistles (syllabus)

Kalamazoo College
Courses taught:

Chicago Theological Seminary
Courses taught:

  • Theology and Politics of the Devil (graduate seminar; syllabus)
  • Agamben (doctoral-level tutorial)
  • Lacan (doctoral-level tutorial)
  • Political Theology (doctoral-level tutorial)

Academic Administration and Professional Service
Service at Shimer College
Associate Dean, 2015-17

  • Coordinating academic assessment program
  • Coordinating curricular reorganization (semester to trimester)
  • Scheduling and setting agenda for faculty and other meetings
  • Assisting in course planning and development of academic policy

Other major initiatives

  • Spearheaded revision of interdisciplinary Humanities capstone course
  • Revamped interdisciplinary Senior Capstone sequence
  • Designed and implemented two-year pathway program for transfer students

Service on college-wide committees:

  • Academic Planning Committee, 2012-17
  • Admissions Committee, 2014-2016
  • Grievances, Appeals, and Judicial Committee, 2013-17
  • Quality of Life Committee, 2011-2012

Fellow of the PhD Center, Chicago Theological Seminary, 2011-

  • Directed PhD-level tutorials
  • Administered comprehensive exams for doctoral candidates
  • Served on dissertation committees

Referee work:

  • Publishers: Fordham University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Rowman & Littlefield International, Stanford University Press
  • Journals: Political Theology, Critical Research in Religion, The Review of Politics, Theology Today, Symplokē, Mosaic, Griffith Law Review, Toronto Journal of Theology, parrhesia
  • Dissertation outside reader: University of Capetown (Department of Religion)

Service on editorial/advisory boards:

  • “Provocations” book series, University of Nebraska Press
  • Continental Theory and Thought journal, University of Canterbury (New Zealand)

Service to the American Academy of Religion:

  • Co-Chair of the Theology and Continental Philosophy Group, 2016-
  • Member of the Steering Committee for the Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism Group, 2010-2013
  • Student Liaison, 2006-2008

Professional Development
Council of Independent Colleges Summer Seminar, “The Verbal Art of Plato,” hosted by Gregory Nagy (Harvard University) and Kenneth Scott Morrell (Rhodes College), Washington, D.C., July 2017

Participant, DAAD Faculty Summer Seminar, “Economies of Desire: Political Economy and Libidinal Economy in German Culture and Thought,” hosted by Eric Santner (University of Chicago), June 17-July 26, 2013

Fellowships and Awards
Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, July 2016
Research assistantship, Chicago Theological Seminary, 2006-2009
Teaching assistantship, Chicago Theological Seminary, 2006-2008
Ph.D. Fellowship, Chicago Theological Seminary, 2005-2009
Full-tuition scholarship, Olivet Nazarene University 1998-2002

Professional Associations
American Academy of Religion

Research Languages
Reading and translation: French, German, Italian, Latin, Greek


Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. Professor of Biblical and Constructive Theology. Chicago Theological Seminary (
Anna Kornbluh. Associate Professor of English. University of Illinois at Chicago (
Bruce Rosenstock. Associate Professor of Religious Studies. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (
Eric Santner. Professor of Modern German Studies. University of Chicago (
Laurel C. Schneider. Professor of Religion and Culture. Vanderbilt University (
Bo Myung Seo. Associate Professor of Theology and Cultural Criticism. Chicago Theological Seminary (
Slavoj Žižek. Researcher in Social Sciences. University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (

Carol Anderson. Professor of Religion. Kalamazoo College (
Ann Dolinko. Professor of Philosophy and Social Sciences. Shimer College. (
Harold Stone. Professor of European History and Dean. Shimer College (

updated June 26, 2017