Critical methods in the humanities

A workshop with Adam Kotsko (North Central College, Ill)

This PhD course is comprised of a seminar and a lecture conducted by Adam Kotsko, an internationally recognised scholar and translator. In his work he investigates pre-modern Christian thought focusing on what it can tell us about the genealogical roots and unacknowledged deep structures of modern secular thought. This relates to his work on contemporary continental philosophy, including the translations of some of the key texts of Giorgio Agamben. He also interprets contemporary culture through television and film and is an active contributor on the blog An und für sich. His most recent publications are The Prince of This World (Stanford University Press, 2016), Agamben’s Philosophical Lineage, co-edited with Carlo Salzani (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), Neoliberalism’s Demons: On the Political Theology of Late Capitalism (Stanford University Press, 2018).

We will begin with a seminar where the participating PhD-students present oral introductions to their submitted papers and receive comments from Adam Kotsko on their work. After the presentations we will have a roundtable discussion. The seminar will be followed by a public lecture given by Adam Kotsko.

The course is aimed at PhD-students that primarily (but not necessarily) are working with texts as their object of study and want to develop and reflect on their use of critical methods.

The aim of the course is to foster a discussion of critical methods in the humanities enabling the participating PhD-students to reflect on their methodological approaches and choices.


9:00 - 13:30  Seminar (South Campus, room 10-4-05)

The seminar commences with a presentation by Adam Kotsko. This is followed by presentations by the participating PhD-students based on their prior submitted papers (app. 15 minutes). The presentations are followed by comments and feedback on each of the PhD-student’s papers. The seminar ends with a more general roundtable discussion.

13.30 - 15:00  Lunch break

15:00 - 17:00  Public lecture by Adam Kotsko (South Campus, auditorium 22.0.11):
                         Agamben's Theology: A Critical Reading of The Kingdom and the Glory


Agamben's recent work has been marked by an increasingly insistent focus on theology. While theological traditions have always been a part of his erudite and wide-ranging investigations, beginning with The Kingdom and the Glory, the Italian philosopher has made a systematic case for the centrality of theological concepts in contemporary models of governance. In this lecture, Adam Kotsko, the translator of many of Agamben's most theologically focused works, will engage in a critical reading of The Kingdom and the Glory, showing how it exemplifies both the promise and the peril of Agamben's genealogical method.

ECTS: 2,3

Maximum number of participants: 8

Application and procedure

Deadline for submitting proposals (200 words) and description of research project (200 words): 22 October 2018.

Acceptance/Rejection of proposals: 1 November 2018.

Deadline for submitting full paper/chapter (4-5000 words): 19 November 2018.


A reading list (app. 300 pages) will be distributed after notice of acceptance.

For further information and questions please contact course organizer Erik Sporon Fiedler.