Premodern studies, Political theology, Historiography, Critical theory, Sovereignty
Kathleen Biddick is Professor of History at Temple University. She has authored books in the fields of medieval studies, critical historiography, and theory: The Other Economy; The Shock of Medievalism; The Typological Imaginary: Circumcision, Technology and History. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships: Fulbright Foundation-Ireland, Lily Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Stanford Humanities Center, Dartmouth Humanities Center, National Science Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies Curriculum Development Award. She has lived in Ireland, England, Germany, and Italy in the course of undertaking her scholarly projects. In Spring 2013 she received the Provost’s Award for Innovative Teaching.
Her most recent book, Make and Let Die: Untimely Sovereignties (Punctum Books 2016), delves into the problematic return of the miracle and messianism in contemporary debates over sovereignty and discussed the importance of this contemporary debate to premodern scholars. She traces the links between the discourse of the most powerful abbey of twelfth-century Christendom, Cluny in Burgundy, which defined miracle-making in terms of its declared enemies, Jews and Muslims, and the theoretical writings of Walter Benjamin, Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Eric Santner and Jean-Luc Nancy. The project argues that these medieval dead neighbors of Cluny remain undead and driven in the drive of contemporary theory, until their archive is recognized and embraced.