On a lark, I decided to compile all the papers from my handouts suggesting possible paper topics over the last two years.
I will be doing a couple of virtual conferences in the coming weeks. The first will be at the American Comparative Literature Association, where Frances Restuccia and I have organized a session on “Agamben’s Later Works” (deferred from last year’s cancelled conference). My paper will be entitled “Agamben’s Vegetative Theology” and will focus on his strange declaration, at the end of his recent memoir, that “Grass is God,” in the broader context of his use of theology. It draws on a longer essay called “Agamben the Theologian,” which will appear in my forthcoming book What is Theology?
The second will be at the Association for Core Texts and Classes, where Shimer Great Books School chair Stuart Patterson has organized a panel for Shimer faculty to think through the process of adjusting to our new home at North Central. My presentation will be entitled “Bringing Horses to Water: Great Books as Gen Ed,” drawing on my experience of teaching classes required of all students regardless of major and attempting to use Great Books pedagogy and materials in those contexts.
Both events are, sadly, only available to those registered for the conference.
I have a blog post on Silvia Federici and political theology up at the Political Theology Network. Thank you to Alex Dubilet and Vincent Lloyd for the invitation to contribute!
Next Tuesday, I will be giving a lecture on the topic of “Race and Original Sin” for the Philosophy and Religion forum at the University of Southern Mississippi (details here). It will be the first preview of some material from my forthcoming book, What is Theology? Christian Thought and Contemporary Life.
Yesterday I had a great “book launch” seminar on Agamben’s Philosophical Trajectory with the Agamben Working Group at the University of Toronto. I had presented an early version of my theory on the composition history of The Use of Bodies to the group a couple years ago, and they have discussed my translations and other articles at times, so it was the perfect setting. Thank you to John Ricco and Philippe Theophanidis for the invitation!
I was invited to review David Tracy’s massive new two-volume Selected Essays for Critical Inquiry. I took the opportunity to reflect on what Tracy’s approach can tell us about the place of academic theology in contemporary intellectual life.
I have updated my Teaching History page to include syllabi for the courses I am teaching this spring:
- Music, Verse, and Drama: a Shimer Great Books course on the relationship between the three title artforms in various cultural traditions.
- Theology: Structures of Meaning: a Shimer Great Books course that looks at a range of religious traditions through the lens of personal narrative.
- Cardinal Directions Senior Seminar: an interdisciplinary seminar for graduating seniors of all majors, which is meant to be the capstone for their General Education experience. Faculty members are able to choose their own topic — mine is “Utopia and Dystopia.”