This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom

Three Seminar Discussions with Martin Hägglund

This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom

This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom 1024 766 Tom Carlson

Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 2 p.m.
Friday, March 13, 2020 at 10 a.m.
Friday, March 13, 2020 at 2 p.m.

Robertson Gymnasium 1000A

In these three seminar sessions, we will hold an extended discussion with the author of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (Pantheon, 2019), where Martin Hägglund challenges received notions of faith and freedom. The faith we need to cultivate, he argues, is not a religious faith in eternity but a secular faith devoted to our finite life together. He shows that all spiritual questions of freedom are inseparable from economic and material conditions. What ultimately matters is how we treat one another in this life, and what we do with our time together. Hägglund develops new existential and political principles while transforming our understanding of spiritual life. His critique of religion takes us to the heart of what it means to mourn our loved ones, be committed, and care about a sustainable world. His critique of capitalism aims to demonstrate that we fail to sustain our democratic values because our lives depend on wage labor. Explaining why capitalism is inimical to our freedom, the book argues that we should instead pursue novel forms of democratic socialism.



Professor of comparative literature and humanities at Yale University and a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, Martin Hägglund is the author of three highly acclaimed books, and his work has been translated into eight languages. In his native Sweden, he published his first book, Chronophobia, at the age of twenty-five. His first book in English, Radical Atheism, was the subject of a conference at Cornell University and a colloquium at Oxford University. His most recent book, Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov, was hailed by the Los Angeles Review of Books as a “revolutionary” achievement. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018.

This event is co-sponsored by UCSB’s Comparative Literature Program, Department of English, and Graduate Center for Literary Research.