209 Major Williams
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
genealogy of sovereignty and state
liberal tradition and political sensibilities
religion and pre-modern power
secularism and religion
tradition and temporality
Awards and Honors
AnOutstanding Academic Book by CHOICE for The Politics of Postsecular Religion: Mourning Secular Futures (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).
American Academy of Religion's Award for the Best First Book in the History of Religion for Colors of the Robe: Religion, Identity, and Difference (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002).
A symposium of four articles on my book The Politics of Postsecular Religion: Mourning Secular Futures was published in Religion 42.1(2012).
Colors of the Robe: Religion, Identity, and Difference (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002).
The Politics of Postsecular Religion: Mourning Secular Futures (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).
“Religious Studies’ Mishandling of Origin and Change: Time, Tradition, and Form-of-life in Buddhism,” (Forthcoming in Cultural Critique, 2017).
“The ‘Problem’ of Religion, Christianity, and the Capacity of Community,” ReOrient: Journal of Critical Muslim Studies 1.1(2015):37-42.
“Sri Lanka, Postcolonial ‘Locations of Buddhism,’ Secular Peace: Sovereignty of Decision and Distinction,” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 14.2(2012):211-237.
“The Un-translatability of Religion, The Un-translatability of Life: Talal Asad’s Thought Unthought in the Study of Religion,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 23(2012):257-282.
“Buddhism, Power, Modernity,” Culture and Religion 12: 42(2011):489–497.
Religion and Modernity in the West (graduate)
The Uncanny World of Martin Heidegger: Being and Time (graduate)
Religion and Culture in Asia (undergraduate)
Religion and Culture in India (undergraduate)
My research and teaching have to do with Theravada Buddhism, Sri Lanka, South Asia, tradition, religion, and politics, religious practice and temporality, religion and secularism, political theories of sovereignty and state, liberal tradition and secular dispositions. In particular, I want to think about the question of religion by way of thinking about the “limits” of a tradition against the backdrop of the ensemble of modern social-political life. My focus is on how the secular notions of time—connected with modern ideas of capacity, sensibility, emotion, body, etc.—remain inadequate to grasp how temporality and the form-of-life work in a tradition, marked by a tension between moment and destiny (kairos and chronos), between what begins and what passes away, between decisive action and repetition of practice.