Study Guide

Giorgio Agamben - Homo Sacer vs. History

Homo Sacer vs. History

We listed "Historians" among Agamben's chief rivals, and though that's a broad category, it's pretty much true. In the U.S., Agamben is a theorist scholars love to hate, either because he's a celebrity, or they disagree with him, or both.

We guess it's understandable that some folks who work in dusty archives on unsung figures might be resentful of rock stars. But we wonder whether Agamben is really as threatening to responsible scholarship as these responsible scholars seem to fear.

Agamben himself would probably just be all, "Isn't there room enough in the world for both micro-level historical work and grand theorizing?" We'll let you decide, but we can say that the historians have weighed in with their own verdict, and it's a resounding NO.

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