The Drama of Race
Toward a Theological Account of Modernity
This chapter begins here the work of developing a theological account of the modern problem of race, starting with an analysis of Cornel West's genealogy of race, ultimately labeling this approach problematic it for its inability to come to terms with what is religious, theological and political — all at the same time — about modernity and about how race functions within it. It then turns to Michel Foucault's work. The strength of his genealogy of race, which he positions within a genealogy of the state, is its opening onto a genealogy of religion, one that identifies the quest to overcome Jews and Judaism — the problem of supersessionism — as what propels modernity and moves its discourse of race, which is modernity's inner architecture. Unable to fully account for the theological nature of this problem, Foucault himself remained captive to his own form of intellectual supersessionism.
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