The Religion and the Human Sciences Workshop and the Islamic Studies Workshop are pleased to invite you to an upcoming workshop with Dr. Khaled Furani:
“Redeeming Anthropology: A Theological Critique of a Modern Science”
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Tel Aviv University
Friday, September 27
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Martin Marty Center Library
(1025 E. 58th St)
Please email Alireza Doostdar (doostdar@
uchicago.edu) to RSVP and to receive the chapters we will be discussing.
Redeeming Anthropology lifts a veil on anthropology as a modern academic discipline, constituted by its secular sovereign reason and membership in the Enlightenment-bequeathed university. Mining anthropology’s biographical corpus, Khaled Furani reveals ways theology has always existed in its recesses, despite perpetual efforts at immuring encroachment by this banished other. Anthropologists have alternatively spurned, disregarded, and followed forms of religiosity, transmuting their theistic engagement in their professional work. Centrally, if unwittingly, theology remains in anthropology’s consummate rite of ethnographic immersion, defying precepts on the autonomy of reason and knowledge production by immersing the seeker in the sought-after. Nevertheless, anthropology ultimately commits idolatry by largely adoring the concept of Culture, and its constructs, and upholding itself as pre-eminently an ethical triumph. Furthermore, by limiting its horizons to finite categories of “human” and “natural,” anthropology entangles itself in “worship” of the State and conclusively of the sovereignty principle that powers modern reason. Recovery from idolatry might arrive should anthropological reason become attuned to its fragility, cease to fear theistic reason, and open pathways toward revitalization through revelation.
Khaled Furani is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. His research interests lie in secularism, poetics, social theory, history of anthropology, Palestine, and the modern condition. He is the author of Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry (2012).