I am interested in root concepts that structure the humanities, such as history, reason, region, story, and critique, and in canons as sites to reshape an intellectual landscape - an inheritance of texts, distinctions, and practices. My teaching draws on philosophy, religion, art, and social and political thought, and I have published two books: Spinoza’s Revelation: Religion, Democracy, and Reason (Cambridge, 2004), which works in the crosscurrents of Spinoza’s metaphysics and politics, and Powers of Distinction: On Religion and Modernity (Chicago, 2017), a wide-ranging critique of the West in light of modernity’s elementary forms.
Before coming to Yale, I taught at Williams College and Indiana University, Bloomington. I have served on the editorial board of the Social Science Research Council blog on secularism, religion, and the public sphere, The Immanent Frame, where I co-curated forums and published a variety of essays. I currently serve on the Executive Committee of Yale’s Jewish Studies Program. To spur collaboration in both research and teaching, several of us in religious studies founded a doctoral field in religion and modernity, which includes participants from across the university and is designed to foster creative work in the humanities.