Beyond the Secular

Jacques Derrida and the Theological-Political Complex

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 a Senior Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University in Uganda.