The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Non-GC Events

Nov. 20 Program in Poetics & Theory at NYU- Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency

The Program in Poetics & Theory at NYU is pleased to invite you to:



Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency

Joshua Ramey (Grinnell College), with a response from Dimitris Vardoulakis (University of Western Sydney)

19 University Place, The Great Room | 6:30PM

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the neoliberal ideas that arguably caused the damage have been triumphant in presenting themselves as the only possible solution for it. How can we account for the persistence of neoliberal hegemony, in spite of its obviously disastrous effects upon labor, capital, ecology, and society? The argument pursued in Professor Ramey’s forthcoming book, Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency, is that part of the persistence of neoliberalism has to do with the archaic and obscure political theology—a political theology of chance that both underwrites and obscures sacrificial devotion to market outcomes—upon which of much of its discourse trades. That political theology is structured around hidden homologies between modern markets, as non-rational randomizing “meta-information processors,” and archaic divination tools, which are used in public acts of tradition-bound attempts to interpret the deliverances of chance. Only by recognizing the persistently sacred character of chance within putatively secularized discourses of risk and randomness can the investments of neoliberal power be exposed at their sacred source, and an alternative political theology be constructed.

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