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Alex Dubilet

Assistant Professor

An interdisciplinary scholar by training and sensibility, I think and write across critical theory (broadly conceived), modern and contemporary continental philosophy, political theology, and the history and theory of mysticism. My work also engages the methods and materials of philosophy of religion, radical political theory, the critical study of Christianity and the secular, and theories of race and colonialism.


My current book project, Interminable Disorder, investigates how political theology is transformed as a field and theoretical orientation when viewed from the perspective of insurrection and refusal. It also pursues the converse question: what happens to the conceptualizations and genealogies of insurrection when, apprehended through a political-theological prism, it ceases to be merely a political phenomenon. Thinking with, through, and against a wide array of 20th and 21st century figures—from Jacob Taubes, Sylvia Wynter, and Michel Foucault to Cedric Robinson, Reiner Schürmann, and Fred Moten—Interminable Disorder works genealogically to create a trans-historical archive that brings together Gnostic refusals of the world, medieval mysticism’s subversion of hierarchy and the proper, fanaticism’s challenge to individuation, and the anarchic and unthinkable dimensions of slave rebellions. Hermeneutic engagements with these topics result in the development of a novel theoretical lexicon that displaces the accepted parameters of political theology; transforms dominant understandings of the relation between the Christian, the secular, and the political; and rethinks the conceptual morphologies of destitution, delegitimation, and insurrection. 


I am concurrently, though more gradually, working on another book project, The Most Intimate Poverty, which forms an informal diptych with Interminable Disorder. While both projects operate with a political-theological attunement, The Most Intimate Poverty takes inspiration from the sermons of Meister Eckhart (whose formulation gives the book its title) and Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s insight that the real danger in the face of dispossession is the “recourse to self-possession” to trace the ways poverty has been affirmed across the medieval/modern divide. In reconstructing the modalities of this minor gesture, the book creatively re-reads a variety of medieval and modern texts, from Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, Thomas Müntzer, and Spiritual Franciscans to Karl Marx, Andrei Platonov, Clarice Lispector, and Huey Newton. In the process, it rethinks the relation of spiritual poverty and material poverty, of possession and dispossession, and of the subject and nothingness across the epistemological and political disjunctures constituting modernity. 


I have edited two volumes shaping political theology for the contemporary moment: 

1)  Political Theology Reimagined: Theories, Ruptures, Itineraries, eds.  Alex Dubilet and Vincent Lloyd, (Duke University Press, Under Contract, Forthcoming 2024). 

2) Nothing Absolute: German Idealism and the Question of Political Theology, eds. Kirill Chepurin and Alex Dubilet (Fordham University Press, 2021).


Aspects of my book projects have appeared (or will soon appear) in essay form:

1) “A Political Theology of Interpellation: On Subjection, Individuation, and Becoming Nothing” Cultural Critique (Forthcoming, Winter 2023). 

2) “The Just without Justification: On Meister Eckhart and Political Theology” postmedieval – a journal of medieval cultural studies (2022, 13:1-2).

3) “An Immanence without the World: On Dispossession, Nothingness, and Secularity” Qui Parle 30:1 (2021): 51–86.

4) “On the General Secular Contradiction: Secularization, Christianity, and Political Theology” in Nothing Absolute: German Idealism and the Question of Political Theology, eds. Kirill Chepurin and Alex Dubilet (Fordham University Press, 2021).

5) “On Invisible Committee” at


My current work follows from my first book, The Self-Emptying Subject: Kenosis and Immanence, Medieval to Modern (Fordham, 2018). Against two dominant ethical paradigms, Levinas’s ethics of the other and Foucault’s ethics of self-cultivation, I theorized an ethics of self-emptying (or kenosis), which reveals the immanence of an impersonal and dispossessed life without a why. Rather than align immanence with the enclosures of the subject, The Self-Emptying Subject engages the history of Christian mystical theology, modern philosophy, and contemporary theories of the subject to rethink immanence as what precedes and exceeds the very difference between the (human) self and the (divine) other, between the subject and transcendence.


Many ideas for essays are percolating on the backburners, awaiting occasions to be served. These include: a speculative reinterpretation of Andrei Platonov’s work, especially his magnum opus Chevengur, within the broader articulation of an aesthetics of communism; a (re)construction of the entwined matrices of (counter)revolution, (counter)terrorism, and (counter)insurgency; a theoretical reconsideration of mysticism’s relation to critique in light of modernity’s progressive temporalities; a theorization of the glossolalia of the flesh in Aleksei German’s 1998 Khrustalyov, My Car!; a formulation of the deviant afterlives of mystical whylessness in politics and philosophy; a reassessment of the figure of the holy fool; a defense of invisibility and anonymity using literary, mystical, and political materials; and (with Joseph Albernaz) an exploration of the interwoven genealogies of Gnosticism and communism.


When schedules align, I am also working with Kirill Chepurin on a long-term book-length collaborative project, tentatively entitled Nothing to Be Done: History, Immanence, and the Void in 19th-Century Russian Thought, which argues for the theoretical and genealogical relevance of Russian philosophical thought to contemporary theoretical debates in the humanities. The first part of the project has appeared in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities (“Russia’s Atopic Nothingness: Ungrounding the World-Historical Whole with Pyotr Chaadaev,” 2019) and in Theory & Event (“Sovereign Nothingness: Pyotr Chaadaev’s Political Theology,” 2019). An essay speculatively reassessing Nikolai Fedorov, the progenitor of Russian Cosmism, is forthcoming at CR: The New Centennial Review


I am also a co-translator into English (with Jessie Hock) of François Laruelle’s General Theory of Victims (Polity Press, 2015) and A Biography of Ordinary Man: On Authorities and Minorities (Polity Press, 2018).


In the past, I was the co-director of the Contemporary in Theory and the Rereading French Theory seminars at Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.


Some of my published work is available at: Feel free to email me for copies of my work.  


In the English Department, I teach undergraduate courses such as “Critical Theory: Possession and Dispossession in Modernity,” “Mysticism and Literature,” “On Living and Thinking,” “Rhetoric of Revolution,” “Critical Theory: History of Violence / Violence of History,” and “Karl Marx and Michel Foucault.” I have also taught the following graduate courses: “Political Theology and the Question of Modernity” (Spring 2025), “Civil War, General Antagonism, and Colonial Modernity,” “Capitalism and Racialization” (with Ben Tran), “Race and Dis/Possession” (with Ben Tran). I also regularly teach undergraduate political theory courses in Political Science, including “Radical Political Theory,” “Power and Resistance,” “Politics of Capitalism,” “Subject and Power: Michel Foucault,” and “Religion and Politics.”