Beyond the Secular

Jacques Derrida and the Theological-Political Complex

By Andrea Cassatella

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Political Theory, Theology, Religion, Politics
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438493879, 310 pages, September 2023
Paperback : 9781438493886, 310 pages, March 2024

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Table of contents

List of Abbreviations

1. The Politics of Language and Translation

2. The Time of Political Thought

3. The Secular as Theological-Political

4. Democracy beyond Secularism?

5. Islam, Religion, and Democracy


Investigates, through a critical exploration of Derrida's political thought, the foundations of modern secular discourse in relation to issues of race and colonialism.


Through an in-depth, critical analysis of Jacques Derrida's later writings, Beyond the Secular examines the contemporary nexus between religion and politics. Reconnecting these writings to his early works, Andrea Cassatella explores distinctive topics that are thematically linked by the theological-political problematic and theoretically informed by Derrida's relational approach to language, time, religion and politics. The result is a critical investigation into under-examined assumptions of modern secular discourse that questions its binary logics and illuminates such discourse's exclusionary character by tracing its roots in racialized understandings about language, epistemology, politics and religion that travel worldwide through global processes of assimilatory translation. By exposing the discriminatory hierarchies that the Western-Christian, sexualized, and racialized presuppositions of secular discourse keep producing and maintaining, Cassatella ultimately sheds light on the deep entanglements of secularism with the legacy of race and colonialism.

Andrea Cassatella is Senior Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University in Uganda.


"While there are a number of studies of Derrida's extensive texts on religion, and several studies of deconstructive politics, I know of no book-length account of the interaction between religion and politics. Given the excellence of Cassatella's understanding of Derrida, and the power of the book's overall argument, Beyond the Secular makes an enormous contribution to the fields of religion, theology, political theory, and philosophy." — Matthias Fritsch, author of The Promise of Memory: History and Politics in Marx, Benjamin, and Derrida