Off to the University of Oxford to Speak on Russian Political Theology

On March 28th, 2023, I had the opportunity to present my work on Russian political theology at the “Political Theologies after Christendom” conference at New College at the University of Oxford, UK. My presentation covered the development of the idea of the “Katechon,” first devised by St. Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians, later to be politicized and “Nazified” by Carl Schmitt, only to be now invoked by the fascist Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin. The later sees the Russian Empire, and the current Russian Federation, as the “restrainer” of the Anti-Christ, i.e., the collective West and most specifically, the United States of America. Thinking of Russia as having such a God-bearing mission transforms Russia’s genocidal war of aggression against Ukraine into a soteriological project sanctioned by God: a perverse justification for mass slaughter, rape, and child abduction.

The conference was a wonderful experience. I had the great pleasure to be in the presence of some of the most profound scholars, many of whom came from Ukraine and Russia. Our discussions were lively, well-informed, and intellectually stimulating. Thank you Marietta van der Tol and Sophia Johnson for coordinating the event and New College/Oxford for hosting us.

The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion – Conversation with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert

On March 1st, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Critical Theorist, Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert, to discuss the Frankfurt School’s attempt to rescue religion and the enlightenment through the determinate negation of religion. Unlike their immediate predecessors, including Feuerbach, Marx, Lenin, Nietzsche, and Freud, who thought religion had to be abstractly negated from society, the first generation of Critical Theorists – especially Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Fromm, Löwenthal – saw something in religion worthy of being rescued. Such semantic and semiotic elements were consequently translated into post-metaphysical language via social and political philosophy, wherein they played essential parts of Critical Theory. Check out our discussion on YouTube:

The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion – A conversation with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert

“Pope Benedict XVI: From the Third Reich to the Papacy”

I was happy to join my doktorvater, Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert, in an introspective discussion about Joseph Ratzinger, i.e., Pope Benedict XVI. Siebert and Ratzinger’s lives paralleled in many ways: they were born in the same year; they both grew up in the Third Reich; they both attended the Hitler Youth; they both were drafted into the Luftwaffenhelfer and later the Wehrmacht; they were both imprisoned in Prisoner-of-War camps; they both were deemed “anti-Nazis” by the Allied forces, and they both attended Catholic seminary. However, Siebert chose not to be ordained, and opted for the life of a layman in academia – primarily in the United States, whereas Ratzinger chose a life in academia within the Roman Catholic Church, and later was elected as the 265th Pontiff.

Social Theory and the Fundamental Challenges to Humanity

On December 17th, I took part in an online seminar with other members of the Institute for Critical Social Theory on the topic of “Social Theory and the Fundamental Challenges to Humanity,” wherein we discussed issues such as global climate change, war, political-economic injustice, miscarriages of justice, and the question: Will there even be an 22nd century. I was joined by Seyed Javad Miri (Iran), Michael Naughton (UK), Mehdi Shariati (US), and Rudolf J. Siebert (US). This event was also sponsored by Ekpyrosis Press.

Social Theory and the Fundamental Challenges to Humanity – Institute for Critical Social Theory

“Freud and the Frankfurt School,” a conversation with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert

On December 14th, I had the distinct pleasure to discuss the role and history of Freudian psychoanalysis in the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, with the critical theorist, Rudolf J. Siebert. The conversation can be viewed on the Ekpyrosis Press YouTube channel, as well as the Institute for Critical Social Theory’s YouTube channel. It is also archived in the Rudolf J. Siebert Audio-Visual Archive on YouTube.

“Freud and the Frankfurt School,” with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert.

New Book: “Syed Hussein Alatas and Critical Social Theory: Decolonizing the Captive Mind.”

I’m pleased to announce that Seyed Javad Miri and my latest co-edited book has been released by Brill. It includes 19 chapters on the Malay Sociologist, Syed Hussein Alatas, who remains relatively unknown in the West but is a giant in Eastern sociology. We attempt to remedy this deficiency by expanding on his corpus of work, especially on the issue of the “captive mind,” the problem of corruption, and the demythologization of the non-Western nativity.

In my chapter, I focus on using the tools of psychoanalysis and political psychology to further develop Alatas’ idea of the captive mind.

In a year, the paperback version will be published by Haymarket Books in Chicago.

Here is the link to Brill’s hardcover book: Syed Hussein Alatas and Critical Social Theory: Decolonizing the Captive Mind.

Call for Papers: “Alexander Dugin and the Future of Russia: Eurasianism, Political Philosophy, and the Search for a Civilization-State”

Ideas are returning to our world. And the main battle from now on unfolds between them. Between the Russian Idea, the Catechon, the Orthodox Civilization, and the world of the Western Antichrist, coming at us. It is not us Russians who need Ukraine. It is Christ who needs it. And that is why we are there. And that is why we are not leaving.” ~ Alexander Dugin

Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D. and Seyed Javad Miri, Ph.D., the director and co-director of the Institute for Critical Social Theory, would like to invite qualified scholars in the fields of political philosophy, political science, sociology, political psychology, religious studies, political theology, critical theory, Russian/Slavic Studies and related fields to submit abstracts for an upcoming book project on the Neo-Eurasianist Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin. This book is intended to be a critical interrogation of Dugin and his work. We intend to secure a leading academic publisher for this project. If you are interested in joining this project, please see the official Call for Papers below:

The Katechon and the Apocalypse

My latest article entitled, “The Russian Restrainer of the Apocalypse: The Katechon in St. Paul, Carl Schmitt, and Alexander Dugin,” is now available in the latest edition of the journal, Islamic Perspective (Vol. 27, Spring 2022). This article was the basis of my presentation at the annual Critical Theory conference at Loyola University in Rome, Italy, this past May.

Islamic Perspective: Vol. 27, Spring 2022.

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