As Talal Asad’s notion of a discursive tradition has become a mainstay in Islamic Studies, how has it contributed to the larger debate on continuity versus rupture? And how does Asad’s anthropologically-informed definition of Islam shed light on the tension between genealogy on tradition?
The Sunken Place’s genius consists in the fact that it-itself conjures the genealogy of the “statement” it makes.
To become part of an institution as a member of a group which has historically been excluded from the university or from the discipline of theology is to be extremely conscious of the fragility of our survival within that institution, to feel the necessity of struggling against the forces of reproduction which conspire towards our ongoing exclusion.
To read genealogically in this mode is to read anachronistically, to theorize the present through temporally removed contexts while allowing for their difference.
An epidemiology of critique investigates our work as genealogists by taking it too literally. It exaggerates, satirically, the materiality of genealogy’s metaphor and clarifies, sincerely, how it structures critique’s politics—its predisposition to quarantine, purge, and escape.
The Jews is the great constant of this book, persisting from Old Testament to Tel Aviv, as an ahistorical collective, undisturbed by text and politics, what the book calls ethnos, goy. This book’s apriori is the Jews as a goy.
The field of political theology has not yet been rigorously defined. It is more a field of affinities than a clearly delineated disciplinary space—a kind of “zone of indistinction” between theology and political theory where the terms of debate are still very much up for grabs. Even as the range and shape of political theology as a field of inquiry remain somewhat inchoate, however, there are points of reference that already seem more or less obvious or obligatory. The work of Giorgio Agamben is surely one of them, a status that The Kingdom and the Glory will just as surely reinforce. […]