In his newly published book, The Origins of Neoliberalism: Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault, Dotan Leshem recasts the history of the West from an economic perspective, bringing politics, philosophy, and the economy closer together and revealing the significant role of Christian theology in shaping economic and political thought. Leshem draws on Hannah Arendt’s history of politics and Michel Foucault’s genealogy of economy and philosophy. He consults exegetical and apologetic tracts, homilies and eulogies, manuals and correspondence, and Church canons and creeds to trace the influence of the economy on Christian orthodoxy. Only by relocating the origins of modernity in Late Antiquity, Leshem argues, can we confront the full effect of the neoliberal marketized economy on contemporary societies. Then, he proposes, a new political philosophy that re-secularizes the economy will take shape and transform the human condition.
This panel will gather to discuss Leshem’s book and the implications of the work. Gil Anidjar will moderate.
Dotan Leshem is a historian of systems of economic and political thought and a senior lecturer in the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa. Leshem’s articles have appeared in journals of history of economic thought, history of the humanities, critical studies, political theory, theology, economics, and comparative literature. His article “Oikonomia Redefined” was awarded best article of 2014 by the History of Economics Society. Leshem’s book The Origins of Neoliberalism: Modeling The Economy from Jesus to Foucault was published by Columbia University Press in June 2016.
Daniel Colucciello Barber is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Pace University. He is the author of Deleuze and the Naming of God and On Diaspora, and his current research addresses the idea of conversion.
Stathis Gourgouris is Professor of Classics, English, and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Dream Nation and Does Literature Think?, and editor of Freud and Fundamentalism. He is currently at work on two books of “lessons in secular criticism”: The Perils of the One and Nothing Sacred.
Gil Anidjar is Professor in the Departments of Religion; the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS); and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS). He is the author of, among other works, The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy; Semites: Race, Religion, Literature; and Blood: a Critique of Christianity.