Advancing at distinct velocities, and seemingly belonging to different temporalities, the three collective forms “Race, Nation, Religion” are rarely considered as one and the same phenomena. Whether a perversion of one another (race and nation), an anachronism in relation to each other (first religion, then race), or joined to each other by unholy alliances (nation and religion), they appear to defeat any attempt at a “grand unified theory.” This talk will reflect on some of the mechanisms (historicism, secularism, and more) that have ensured the strange division of labor that persists to this day among the three categories in spite of their indissociable co-incidence. Constructions of the other or practices of self-fashioning, there is a not so covert unity to “Race, Nation, Religion.” Freud’s Moses and Monotheism will provide a guiding hand in our inquiry.
Gil Anidjar is Professor in the Department of Religion, the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, and at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.
He is currently teaching at the Faculty for Media and Communication, Belgrade. Two of his books have been translated into Serbian: Jevrejin, Arapin: Istoria neprijatelja (Beogradski krug, 2006); Semiti – rasa, religija, književnost (Fakultet za medije i komunikacije, 2014).
His latest book, Blood: A Critique of Christianity has just been published with Columbia University Press.