Eric Santner
Eric Santner

Eric Santner

Philip and Ida Romberg Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Germanic Studies
University of Chicago

The Weight of All Flesh: On the Subject-Matter of Political Economy

Lecture I: On the Subject-Matter of Political Theology
With commentary by Bonnie Honig
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
4:10 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Toll Room, Alumni House

Lecture II: Paradoxologies 
With commentary by Peter Gordon and Hent de Vries
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
4:10 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Toll Room, Alumni House

Seminar and Discussion with the commentators
Thursday, April 17, 2014
4:10 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Toll Room, Alumni House

The lectures and the seminar are free and open to the public.

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About Eric Santner

Eric Santner’s work addresses issues of sovereignty as they play out in the political, cultural and aesthetic spheres. His research interests lie at the intersection of literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, political theory and religious thought. In his previous work, Santner examined the ethical and biopolitical significance of remainders of creaturely life in the human subject. His most recent book extends his scholarship in biopolitics into the domain of political theology through a new interpretation of the early modern doctrine of “the King’s two bodies.” The book investigates the ways that this quasi-corporeal notion of sovereignty migrates into modern democratic and secular societies, where it gets transformed into “the ‘sublime’ life-substance of the People.”

A prolific writer, Santner has authored several books, including The Royal Remains: The People’s Two Bodies and the Endgames of Sovereignty (2011),On Creaturely Life (2007), On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life: Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig (2001), My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber’s Secret History of Modernity (1996), and Stranded Objects: Mourning, Memory, and Film in Postwar Germany (1990). He is the co-author, with Slavoj Zizek and Kenneth Reinhard, of The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology (2005). In addition he has published scholarly articles and book chapters on subjects including psychoanalysis, Giorgio Agamben, Carl Schmidt, and ethics. He edited the German Library Series volume of works by Friedrich Holderlin and co-edited with Moishe Postone, Catastrophe and Meaning: The Holocaust and The Twentieth Century. He currently serves on the editorial boards for the Germanic Review and for the Postmodernism and Religion series at University of Chicago Press. His work has been translated into German, Spanish, French, Korean, Hebrew, Polish, Italian and Portugese.

About the Commentators

Peter Gordon

Amabel B. James Professor of History and Harvard College Professor
Harvard University

Peter Gordon’s scholarship focuses on modern European intellectual history from the late 19th to the late 20th century. His primary area of expertise is Continental Philosophy and modern German and French thought. He has written extensively on Martin Heidegger, phenomenology, and, most recently, secularization and social thought in the 20th century.

Gordon’s highly regarded first book, Rosenzweig and Heidegger: Between Judaism and German Philosophy (2003), was awarded the Morris D. Forkosch Prize, the Salo W. Baron Prize, the Goldstein Goren Prize, and the Koret Foundation Publication Prize.  His most recent book on the 1929 debate between Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer, entitled Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos (2010), was awarded the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society in 2010. Gordon is the co-editor of several books, including Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (2013); The Modernist Imagination: Intellectual History and Critical Theory (2008); The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy (2007); and The Trace of God: Derrida and Religion (forthcoming). Additionally, Gordon serves on the editorial boards for Modern Intellectual History, The Journal of the History of Ideas, and New German Critique, and he is a regular contributor of reviews forThe New Republic.

Peter Gordon received his B.A. from Reed College in 1988, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1997. A recipient of both an honorary Harvard College Professorship and Harvard’s Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Gordon has been on the faculty of the History department at Harvard University since 2000, and was appointed Amabel B. James Professor of History in 2011. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History.

Bonnie Honig

Nancy Duke Lewis Professor-Elect, Modern Culture and Media and Political Science
Brown University

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor (-elect) in the departments of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University. She is also Affiliated Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. She works at the intersections of political theory, law, cultural studies, feminist theory, and literary theory.

She is the author of several prizewinning books and articles, includingEmergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (2009) (co-winner of the David Easton prize). Her most recent book is Antigone, Interrupted (2013), which explores the politics of gender, law, and humanism through a reading of Sophocles’ tragedy and its many prior interpreters. She is currently working on a new book, called Public Things, the topic of her lectures in the Thinking Out Loud Series in Sydney Australia last year.

Bonnie Honig received her BA in political science from Concordia University, Quebec, in 1980. She received her M.S.C. with Distinction from the London School of Economics in 1981, and her M.A. in political theory in 1986 and Ph.D. in 1989, from The Johns Hopkins University.
Until recently she was Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and senior research professor at the American Bar Foundation, Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern in 1997 Honig was Assistant and Associate Professor at Harvard University. Honig has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and, most recently, the American Philosophical Society.

Hent de Vries

Russ Family Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy Director, The Humanities Center
Johns Hopkins University

Hent de Vries is Professor in the Humanities Center and the Department of Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University, where he holds the Russ Family Chair and serves as the Director of the Humanities Center. He is currently also a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. From 2014-2018, he will further serve as the next Director of the Summer School of Criticism and Theory (SCT), at Cornell University. His work addresses the intersections of philosophy, theology, and political theory. His research interests include modern European thought, the history and critique of metaphysics, religion and media, religion and violence.

Before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, de Vries held the Chair of Metaphysics and Its History in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam (1993–2002). He was a co-founder of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and served as the Director of its governing board (1994–1998) and its Scientific Director (1998–2004).

De Vries’ principal publications include: Philosophy and the Turn to Religion(1999, 2000), Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida (2002, 2006), and Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas (2005). He was the co-editor of many publications including: with Samuel Weber, on ViolenceIdentity Self-Determination (1997) and on Religion and Media (2001); with Lawrence Sullivan, on Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World(2006); and with Ward Blanton, on Paul and the Philosophers (2013). With Nils F. Schott, he co-edited a forthcoming volume entitled Human Alert Concepts and Practices of Love and Forgiveness. In addition, he served as the General Editor of the five-volume mini-series, entitled The Future of the Religious Past, as well as of its first title, Religion Beyond a Concept (2008). Currently, he is completing two book-length studies, one entitled Of MiraclesEventsand Special EffectsGlobal Religion in an Age of New Media and the other entitled Spiritual ExercisesConcepts and Practices. He is the Editor of the international book series Cultural Memory in the Present at Stanford University Press.