Cornell University

Faisal Devji, Islam, Capitalism, and the Loss of Theology

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, G76
232 East Ave, Central Campus

Stemming from the rediscovery of Carl Schmitt, the recent work on political theology emphasizes the irreducibility of the theological in modern politics. Dating from the 1980s, a decade bookended by the Iranian Revolution and the Rushdie Affair, this work has attended to the persistence of religion and the crisis of secularism. As important, however, was the collapse of modernization theory with the disintegration of the Third World and its anti-colonial project. 

Central to though rarely acknowledged by this research, Islam has come to represent the chief example of theology’s irreducibility. Yet Schmitt’s statement, about all political concepts being the secularization of theological ones, can also be read as a description of the latter’s evanescence in their very expansion. Rather than representing its persistence, contemporary Islam is defined by the loss of the theological as it is reproduced in capitalist ways. 

Islam serves as both a repository and displacement of the theological for other religions. Yet its own spectacles of outrage and violence, over alleged insults to Muhammad, rehearse the absence of the theological. Emerging out of colonial capitalism, such controversies over representations of Muhammad have also secularized blasphemy and promoted the rise of offences against identity in Euro-American societies. 

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Topic: Lecture: Faisal Devji, Islam, Capitalism, and the Loss of Theology

Time: Jul 6, 2022 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Event Type

Lecture

Departments

School of Criticism and Theory, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program, South Asia Program

Tags

SCT, complit, sochum

Contact E-Mail

cel242@cornell.edu

Contact Name

Carla Liesching

Speaker

Faisal Devji

Speaker Affiliation

Professor of Indian History and Fellow of St. Antony's College, Oxford University

Dept. Web Site

https://sct.cornell.edu/

Open To

the public