William Underwood: “The Time of Love’s Power: Lorde, Marion, and the Politics of the Erotic ‘I'”

William Underwood

PhD Student, Philosophy of Religions

The Time of Love’s Power: Lorde, Marion, and the Politics of the Erotic “I”

Wednesday, October 18, 4:30pm, Swift 208

In the twentieth century, the problem of desire in the constitution of the self-became the hinge of theories that challenged the privilege of a self-possessed subject and its attendant politics of universalist liberation. Defining work in phenomenology, psychoanalysis, critical theory, and literature, this critical countermovement of desire contributed to the critique of existing epistemological paradigms and generated new vistas for both philosophy and political struggle. In this paper, I bring into contact two thinkers—Jean-Luc Marion and Audre Lorde—who subject modern accounts of the subject to reformulation through novel treatments of eroticism, but whose work is rarely, if ever, brought into contact. In so doing, I argue that Lorde’s critical and poetic work extends Marion’s erotic expansion of the phenomenological field, and helps articulate a distinct erotic politics informed by the sociogenic dimensions of phenomenality and oriented toward the project of liberation.

Refreshments will be served

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to maintaining itself as a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator Matthew Peterson (mjpeterson@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Symposium on “Heidegger’s Confessions”


Thursday, May 26, 4:30pm
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall
1025 East 58th Street

Ryan Coyne (University of Chicago)
Jean-Luc Marion (University of Chicago)
Gregory Fried (Suffolk University)
Moderator Mark Alznauer (Northwestern University)


Hosted by the Lumen Christi Institue

Cosponsored by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop and the Theology & Religious Ethics Workshop

Although Martin Heidegger is nearly as notorious as Friedrich Nietzsche for embracing the death of God, the philosopher himself acknowledged that Christianity accompanied him at every stage of his career. In Heidegger’s Confessions, Ryan Coyne isolates a crucially important player in this story: Saint Augustine. Uncovering the significance of Saint Augustine in Heidegger’s philosophy, he details the complex and conflicted ways in which Heidegger paradoxically sought to define himself against the Christian tradition while at the same time making use of its resources.

Ryan Coyne is Assistant Professor of of Philosophy of Religions and Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. Prof. Coyne studies the relationship between modern European philosophy and the history of Christian theology, and is author of Heidegger’s Confessions: The Remains of Saint Augustine in “Being and Time” & Beyond (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and A Spectacle for the Gods: Nietzsche and the Question of Faith (forthcoming).

Jean-Luc Marion is the Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology and professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, and holds the Dominique Dubarle chair at the Institut Catholique of Paris. He is also Professor Emeritus of Modern Philosophy and Metaphysics at the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne) and is a member of the Académie Française. Among his books are In the Self’s Place: The Approach of Saint Augustine, God Without Being, and The Erotic Phenomenon. In 2014 he delivered the Gifford Lectures on Givenness and Revelation.

Gregory Freid is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Suffolk University in Boston. He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago and a BA from Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of Philosophy, particularly Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Kant, and Heidegger. He is co-author with Charles Fried of Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy, and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror, co-editor of A Companion to Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics, and is author of Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics.


The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to maintaining itself as a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator Anil Mundra (amundra@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Eric Ziolkowski on “Kierkegaard and the History of Religions”

Eric Ziolkowski (Lafayette College)

“Kierkegaard and the History of Religions”

Co-sponsored with the Religion and Literature Club

Thursday, May 21, 3:30 pm

Swift Hall, 106


Kirkegaard’s life coincided with the period that led up to the emergence of comparative religion or Religionswissenschaft, a.k.a. the “History of Religions,” as an academically recognized scholarly pursuit.  This talk considers the bearing of Kirkegaard’s writings, and of their reception, upon the development of HR, mainlty from the early twentieth century up through Eliade.  For better or worse, far from figuring as an irrelevant or theological persona non grata in relation to HR, Kierkegaard was embraced by some of its formative contributors as a datum, as a theorist, and ultimately, in one notable case, as an existential soul mate.

Pamela Sue Anderson (Oxford) on the Future of the Philosophy of Religion

Pamela Sue Anderson

Professor of Modern European Philosophy of Religion, Oxford University


“Concepts to Live By:

Change for the Future of Philosophy of Religion”

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015


Swift Hall Common Room, University of Chicago



Suggested pre-workshop reading:

“Editorial: In Guise of a Miracle,” Pamela Sue Anderson. From Sophia (2014) 53:171-181.


“Restoring Faith in Reason,” Pamela Sue Anderson.  From Re-visioning Gender in Philosophy of Religion (Ashgate, 2012), chapter 6 (pp. 113-138).


“Encouraging a Thoughtful Love of Life: Pamela Sue Anderson and Gillian Howe on Practising Philosophy,” Patrice Haynes.  From Sophia (2014) 53:193-214.

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is pleased to welcome Oxford’s Pamela Sue Anderson to the University of Chicago on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015.  Professor Anderson will be discussing the future of philosophical reflection on religion and the methodological challenges that the future poses. For instance, do we need to create new concepts?  This would be to replace the dominant focus on traditional theism and the omni-perfect God.  But it is also to raise questions about the social and material locatedness of the concepts which have been used, as if they were inclusive and ‘neutral.’  Another example of where this conceptual issue could take our discussion is whether we should be focusing more on religious practices; and if so, how do we ensure that these practices are not mystifying; that is, empty of content?

Philosophy of Religions and Theology and Ethics Workshops Co-sponsored Event: Evan Kuehn on post-Kantian Theology

Evan Kuehn (PhD Candidate, Theology, UChicago)

“From Postulates of Reason to Doctrines of Faith: On Doing Theology After Kant”

Dec 9th, 12:00pm – 1:20pm (room TBA)

Russell Johnson (PhD Student, Philosophy of Religions) will respond

Lunch will be served


This paper will attempt to lay out some theses for the task of doing theology after Kant and in the spirit of his philosophical work. In particular, I am interested in the problem that faces any would-be Kantian theologian of how to offer a theological account of things like God, or the immortality of the soul, or human freedom. Kant sees these sorts of ideas as necessary postulates of reason which can, however, never become objects of knowledge for us. Yet in many cases, theologians do not consider ideas like these from such an epistemological remove. Ideas which according to Kant are merely regulatory for theoretical knowledge and at most objects of faith are, for theological inquiry, often treated as objects of knowledge. Can theology engage these objects (systematically, critically, and theoretically) as objects of theological knowledge without thereby abandoning the original Kantian framework of human knowledge limited to the categories of understanding? And what resources are available within Kant’s Critiques for dealing with these theological ideas as objects of theological knowledge?