Genealogies of the Secular

  • Matthew Chrulew

Abstract

Agrowing international debate has sought to problematize the secular: to demonstrate its imbrication with religion, particularly Christianity; to articulate or advance something called the postsecular, beyond the nihilism of modernity; and to identify where amid this upheaval lie the resources for critique. At stake are the potentialities of our religious inheritances and political futures. The questions of derivation and discontinuity that accompany the genealogical method are pivotal in the contemporary debate that asks how the secular derives from Christianity, whether in its discursive, governmental, colonial, or economic forms. Here, Michel Foucault’s account of the spread of modern arts of government is crucial. For Foucault, modern political forms of governmentality are best understood as emerging not through secularization but rather in-depth Christianization—as the proliferation of technologies of conduct formed in the ecclesiastical pastorate. In what follows, I will outline the key features of Foucault’s contribution to contemporary secularization theory, as well as its legacy in Talal Asad’s genealogy of the colonial dimensions of secular politics and subjectivity, as well as Giorgio Agamben’s recent work on the theological genealogy of economy.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans. Translated by Patricia Dailey. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. —. 2007. Profanations. Translated by Jeff Fort. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  3. —. 2009. What Is an Apparatus? And Other Essays. Translated by David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. —. 2011. The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government. Translated by Lorenzo Chiesa with Matteo Mandarini. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. —. 2013. The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life. Translated by Adam Kotsko. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Anidjar, Gil. 2006. “Secularism.” Critical Inquiry 33: 52–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. —. 2014. Blood: A Critique of Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Asad, Talal. 1993. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  9. —. 2003. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Asad, Talal, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood. 2009. Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Barber, Daniel Colucciello. 2011. On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity. Eugene: Cascade Books.Google Scholar
  12. Bernauer, James. 1987. “The Prisons of Man: An Introduction to Foucault’s Negative Theology.” International Philosophical Quarterly 27: 365–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. —. 1990. Michel Foucault’s Force of Flight: Toward an Ethics for Thought. London: Humanities Press International.Google Scholar
  14. Bloch, Ernst. 1972. Atheism in Christianity: The Religion of the Exodus and the Kingdom. Translated by J. T. Swann. New York: Herder and Herder.Google Scholar
  15. Blumenberg, Hans. 1983. The Legitimacy of the Modern Age. Translated by Robert M. Wallace. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Carrette, Jeremy R. 2000. Foucault and Religion: Spiritual Corporality and Political Spirituality. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chevallier, Philippe. 2011. Michel Foucault et le christianisme. Lyon: ENS Éditions.Google Scholar
  18. Chrulew, Matthew. 2010. “The Pauline Ellipsis in Foucault’s Genealogy of Christianity.” Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory 11: 1–15.Google Scholar
  19. —. 2014. “Pastoral Counter-Conducts: Religious Resistance in Foucault’s Genealogy of Christianity.” Critical Research on Religion 2: 55–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. de Duve, Thierry. 2006. “Come On, Humans, One More Effort if You Want to Be PostChristians!” In Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World, edited by Hentde Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan, 652–70. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Deleuze, Gilles. 1999. Foucault. Translated by Seán Hand. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Delumeau, Jean. 1977. Catholicism between Luther and Voltaire: A New View of the Counter-Reformation. Translated by Jeremy Moiser. London: Burns and Oates.Google Scholar
  23. de Vries, Hent, and Lawrence E. Sullivan, editors. 2006. Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Donzelot, Jacques. 1979. The Policing of Families. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  25. Foucault, Michel. 1991. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  26. —. 1999a. “Is It Useless to Revolt?” In Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault, edited by Jeremy R. Carrette, 131–34. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. —. 1999b. “Pastoral Power and Political Reason.” In Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault, edited by Jeremy R. Carrette, 135–52. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. —. 1999c. “Philosophy and the Death of God.” In Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault, edited by Jeremy R. Carrette, 85–86. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. —. 1999d. “A Preface to Transgression.” In Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault, edited by Jeremy R. Carrette, 57–71. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. —. 2000. “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” In Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954–1984, edited by James Faubion, 369–91. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  31. —. 2002. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. —. 2003. Abnormal: Lectures at the Collège De France, 1974–1975. Translated by Graham Burchell. Edited by Valerio Marchetti and Antonella Salomoni. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  33. —. 2005. “Dialogue between Michel Foucault and Baqir Parham.” In Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, edited by Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson, 183–89. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. —. 2007a. History of Madness. Translated by Jonathan Murphy and Jean Khalfa. Edited by Jean Khalfa. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. —. 2007b. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège De France, 1977–78. Translated by Graham Burchell. Edited by Michel Senellart. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. —. 2008. Introduction to Kant’s Anthropology. Translated by Roberto Nigro and Kate Briggs. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).Google Scholar
  37. Gauchet, Marcel. 1997. The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion. Translated by Oscar Burge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Janicaud, Dominique. 2000. Phenomenology and the “Theological Turn”: The French Debate. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Kotsko, Adam. 2010. “Dismantling the Theo-Political Machine: On Agamben’s Messianic Nihilism.” In After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion, edited by Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler, 209–24. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  40. Lefort, Claude. 1988. Democracy and Political Theory. Translated by David Macey. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  41. Löwith, Karl. 1949. Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  42. McSweeney, John. 2005. “Foucault and Theology.” Foucault Studies 2: 117–44.Google Scholar
  43. Nancy, Jean-Luc. 2006. “Church, State, Resistance.” In Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World, edited by Hentde Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan, 102–12. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. —. 2008. Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity. Translated by Bettina Bergo, Gabriel Malenfant, and Michael B. Smith. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Negri, Antonio. 2006. “Sovereignty: That Divine Ministry of the Affairs of Earthly Life.” Translated by Gabriele Fadini with Robert Valgenti. Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory 9 (1): 96–100.Google Scholar
  46. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1974. The Gay Science, with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Translated by Walter Kaufman. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  47. —. 1990. Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  48. —. 1994. On the Genealogy of Morality. Translated by Carol Diethe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Owen, David. 2007. Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality. Stocksfield: Acumen.Google Scholar
  50. Scott, David, and Charles Hirschkind, editors. 2006. Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and His Interlocutors. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Smith, Anthony Paul, and Daniel Whistler. 2010. “What Is Continental Philosophy of Religion Now?” In After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion, edited by Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler, 1–24. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  52. Stoler, Ann Laura. 1995. Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Toscano, Alberto. 2011. “Divine Management: Critical Remarks on Giorgio Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory.” Angelaki 16 (3): 125–36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Timothy Stanley 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Chrulew

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations