Adam Kotsko - "The Prince of this World" - Peter Coviello

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Adam Kotsko discusses The Prince of this World. He will be joined in conversation by Peter Coviello.

At the Co-op


About the book: The most enduring challenge to traditional monotheism is the problem of evil, which attempts to reconcile three incompatible propositions: God is all-good, God is all-powerful, and evil happens. The Prince of This World traces the story of one of the most influential attempts to square this circle: the offloading of responsibility for evil onto one of God's rebellious creatures. In this striking reexamination, the devil's story is bitterly ironic, full of tragic reversals. He emerges as a theological symbol who helps oppressed communities cope with the trauma of unjust persecution, torture, and death at the hands of political authorities and eventually becomes a vehicle to justify oppression at the hands of Christian rulers. And he evolves alongside the biblical God, who at first presents himself as the liberator of the oppressed but ends up a cruel ruler who delights in the infliction of suffering on his friends and enemies alike. In other words, this is the story of how God becomes the devil—a devil who remains with us in our ostensibly secular age.

About the author: Adam Kotsko is Assistant Professor of Humanities at Shimer College, where he also serves as Associate Dean. Adam specializes in contemporary European philosophy and the history of Christian thought. Along with The Prince of This World, he is the author of Zizek and Theology, Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation, Agamben's Coming Philosophy: Finding a New Use for Theology (co-authored with Colby Dickinson), and a trilogy of short books on contemporary popular culture (Awkwardness, Why We Love Sociopaths, and Creepiness). He is also the translator of many works by Giorgio Agamben, as well as an avid blogger at An und für sich (

About the interlocutor: Peter Coviello is Professor of English at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he specializes in American literature and queer studies. He is the editor of Walt Whitman's Memoranda During the War, and author of Intimacy in America: Dreams of Affiliation in Antebellum Literature, and of Tomorrow's Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America, a finalist for a 2014 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies. His work has appeared in PMLA, American Literature, ELH, GLQ, and Raritan, as well as in venues like Frieze, Avidly, The Believer, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He was the co-editor of a special issue of American Literature entitled "After the Postsecular" and he is currently at work on a new book called The Mormon Century: Sex, Sovereignty, and the Biopolitics of Secularism for the University of Chicago Press.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637