RelSec Update:  Shared Readings Lead to Event with Authors at Portland State

The Portland State University group of CHCI’s Mellon-funded Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging collaboration is based at the Portland Center for Public Humanities (PCPH) headed by Michael Clark.  Project leader John Vignaux Smyth sent this update in April 2014.

The Portland group—which comprises participants from Reed College, Lewis and Clark College, and Marylhurst University, in addition to Portland State University--has met twice since the New Year, and plans another meeting in May, before the summer break. Our reading agenda currently entails Slavoj Zizek, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, and Adam Kotsko (on Zizek) in preparation for visits to the PCPH by all three authors in October. In mid-October Kotsko will talk on Zizek and theology to help prepare us for the Zizek/Dupuy colloquium on the Secular and the Sacred on October 31-Nov 1, which will be filmed and disseminated to our partners in Israel, China, Holland, and Arizona. In addition to major public lectures and discussion, we hope also to interview the two main participants jointly the following day.

Our plans for further study include further readings in the relations between economics and religion, and also sharing of relevant work on the more general RelSec topic by our participants themselves, whose work includes religious fundamentalism in India, Judaism in Morocco, Islam in America, and work on Zizek and Dupuy themselves, as well as other matters (the Chinese and Israeli approach to religion; the relation between theocracy and atheocracy; the so-called separation between church and state, and so forth). Relevant authors include also Giorgio Agamben, Bruno Latour, René Girard, Jacques Lacan, Alfred North Whitehead, Alain Badiou, and others.

See the RelSec shared website for more information on the collaboration (